Monday, May 3, 2021

Equal Rights for Boys, Girls and Intersexed Children

 

My blog is primarily about male infant genital mutilation, and voices opposing the forced genital cutting of girls and women aren't in short supply.

Nobody talks about intersexed individuals, though.

What is an "intersexed individual?"

A very small minority of children are born with what are called "ambiguous genitalia." Their genitals don't take on a definite "male" or "female" look to them (the penis may be too small, the clitoris may be too large, the person's genitals might have both a visible shaft as well as a vaginal opening etc.), and doctors act as if they are entitled to a science experiment. They pressure parents to choose a sex for their child, and the child is forced to undergo a number of surgeries so that their genitals align with the sex chosen for them. If the person grows up to not like the sex chosen for him/her,  or maybe even just resent having had unwanted surgery, well, that's just too bad.

There is a growing number of intersexed children who grow up wishing people just left their genitals alone. A number of them reject their elected sex. I believe it is a basic human right for intersexed people to decide what gender they best align with, and to choose whether or not they want sexual assignment surgery, along the same lines as male infant circumcision.

Actually, perhaps even before male infant circumcision, I've always thought that sexual assignment surgery for intersexed babies and children was wrong. This was probably my gateway into thinking forcibly cutting baby boys was wrong.

Before male infant genital mutilation entered my consciousness, I remember having seen a talk-show with intersexed individuals were talking about having resented having had a doctor surgically alter their genitals and simply be told what sex they were going be. Since then I have always thought that forcibly cutting a child's genitals is wrong.

One day, I saw a video that really pissed me off. I don't remember exactly where I saw it, either on the Discovery channel, or on a news report; a boy had grown up with ambiguous genitalia. He had an ovary and a testicle, along with ambiguous genitalia, and doctors sought to make the boy a girl. They kept pressuring his parents that the child ought to be raised as a girl, but the parents refused. One day, one of the child's doctors said that the child needed to undergo surgery for whatever reason. I forget what that reason was, but it had nothing to do with the child's genitals. The parents agreed to let the child undergo surgery, but when the child had come out, they were notified that the child's testicle had been removed because it "had become cancerous." This was clearly a farce because no previous records of cancer existed. It was very clear, at least to me, that these parents were tricked into having their child undergo unwanted surgery. Doctors basically had their way with this poor child. The child was clearly a boy and liked to do the things boys did; play on bikes, play sports, liked rough-and-tumble play, and doctors removed one of his only sources for testosterone.

I not only oppose the forced genital cutting of boys and girls, I oppose the forced genital cutting of intersexed individuals.

A doctor is not entitled to a science experiment every time an intersexed individual is born.

As with cutting a boy's penis, as with cutting a girl's vulva, consent is at the crux of the argument.

Barring medical indication, a doctor has no business cutting the genitals of an intersexed individual.

Whether or not they want surgery to "fix" their genitals should be that person's choice.