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News & Politics News & Politics

Should We "Fix" Intersex Children?

Posted by on Jul. 14, 2014 at 9:04 PM
  • 30 Replies

Should We 'Fix' Intersex Children?

read the whole story here:

http://news.msn.com/us/should-we-fix-intersex-children-1

When Mark and Pam Crawford took their family to Great Wolf Lodge, a water adventure park, for a week’s vacation, their seven-year-old made a request.

“Since we don’t know anybody,” S asked her parents, “can I be a boy?”

The Crawfords, who adopted S at the age of two, had seen signs for years that she did not think of herself as female.

S didn’t want her hair in braids; S wanted a haircut “like dad’s.” At Halloween, S wanted to be a superhero, but not Wonder Woman. S wanted to use the men’s bathroom and liked to be referred to as a boy. S already tended to be perceived as a boy by strangers, after requesting a buzz cut about a month before the family’s vacation.

The Department of Social Services had told the Crawfords their child was born with an intersex condition, meaning the baby’s gender was unclear. Her genitals had been surgically reconstructed to look more female.

So at Great Wolf Lodge, S’s parents thought, “Okay.” Maybe, the resort, where no one knew S, would be a safe place for her to try out being a boy.

The week went well. S picked out a new, male name “M.” When the family arrived back home in South Carolina, things snowballed. M kept up his requests to be a boy, first at gymnastics class, then at the family’s Jewish temple and at school. His parents helped as M told the world step-by-step what he had known all along.

In retrospect, Mark Crawford said, “He never gave us any indication that he was not a boy.”

* * *

M was born with genitals that were not clearly male or female. Also known as disorders of sex development (DSDs), the best guess by researchers is that intersex conditions affectone in 2,000 children.

The response by doctors is often to carry out largely unregulated and controversial surgeries that aim to make an infant’s genitals and reproductive organs more normal but can often have unintended consequences, according to intersex adults, advocates and some doctors.

A long and gut-wrenching list of damaging side effects—painful scarring, reduced sexual sensitivity, torn genital tissue, removal of natural hormones and possible sterilization—combined with the chance of assigning children a gender they don’t feel comfortable with has left many calling for the surgeries to be heavily restricted.

The Crawfords are bringing a landmark lawsuit on behalf of M against the hospitals and doctors who treated M, and the South Carolina Department of Social Services, which allowed the operation when M was in foster care.

A state lawsuit against the hospitals and the South Carolina Department of Social Services alleges medical malpractice and negligence, while a federal suit accuses the individual doctors and Social Services employees of violating M’s due-process rights under the 14th Amendment, which says that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law."

Part of what spurred the legal action, which is supported by the intersex civil rights group Advocates for Informed Choice and the Southern Poverty Law Center, is to prevent the surgery from happening to more children, the Crawfords say. But advocates have been pushing back on these surgeries since more than a decade ago.

During the 1990s, intersex adults who had received surgery as infants came forward speaking about their sense of mutilation. At the same time, an experiment from Johns Hopkins University that claimed to prove young children could safely be assigned any gender with surgical “reinforcement” was revealed to be a failure. The study had been initiated in 1967 by psychologist John Money, who claimed to have successfully given a boy female anatomy and had the child live as a girl. The child, whose penis was burnt off in a circumcision accident, was castrated and operated on to look female at the age of 22 months—eight months before the age at which Money claimed gender became fixed.

Until the 1950s, intersex children had largely been left alone, but Money’s experiment provided support for early surgical intervention. However, one of Money’s rival researchers tracked down his study’s subject and, in 1997, showed that the child had never been happy as a girl and had converted back to living as man, sending shockwaves through the medical profession. Nevertheless, the surgeries continue.

* * *

by on Jul. 14, 2014 at 9:04 PM
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Replies (1-10):
NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Jul. 14, 2014 at 9:39 PM
4 moms liked this
I do not believe they should do any surgeries on these children until age of consent.
Sisteract
by Socialist Hippie on Jul. 14, 2014 at 10:45 PM

Hard, hard question.

Donna6503
by Silver Member on Jul. 14, 2014 at 11:06 PM
I hope that isn't a pun

Quoting Sisteract:

Hard, hard question.

lizzielouaf
by Bronze Member on Jul. 14, 2014 at 11:13 PM
1 mom liked this

Very doubtful it's a pun...

Quoting Donna6503: I hope that isn't a pun
Quoting Sisteract:

Hard, hard question.


Sisteract
by Socialist Hippie on Jul. 14, 2014 at 11:53 PM
1 mom liked this

Nope, not this time.

I usually have an answer, but not for this one. 


joyfree
by Kat on Jul. 15, 2014 at 12:37 AM
1 mom liked this

What an absolutely terrifying position to be in! I think the child should be allowed to self-identify most certainly.

How sad that so many have been altered before they even displayed any gender tendencies at all.

simple frown

imagirlgeek
by Bronze Member on Jul. 15, 2014 at 1:11 AM
3 moms liked this

I watched a documentary on this topic a long time ago.  I wish I could remember what it was called.  I don't think there should be any corrective surgery until whatever gender they identify with is determined.  And I mean, determined by the child and family.  No doubt it would be hard, but no where near as hard as growing up as one gender when you are actually another, and knowing that decision was made essentially by flipping a coin.

__________________________

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. - Thomas Jefferson

Ms.KitKat
by Silver Member on Jul. 15, 2014 at 7:45 AM

Yes, I agree.

What I was surprised at was the number 1in 2000 children are born with this. 

What that means is that in just my little town, there are 75 children born with this.

Quoting imagirlgeek:

I watched a documentary on this topic a long time ago.  I wish I could remember what it was called.  I don't think there should be any corrective surgery until whatever gender they identify with is determined.  And I mean, determined by the child and family.  No doubt it would be hard, but no where near as hard as growing up as one gender when you are actually another, and knowing that decision was made essentially by flipping a coin.


Bird_on_a_wire
by Bronze Member on Jul. 15, 2014 at 10:59 AM
1 mom liked this
This child should be allowed to identify as whichever gender he feels he is. Seems to me that he was born a boy and made a girl. It's only fair to him to allow him to be who he is.
tattedmommy730
by Member on Jul. 15, 2014 at 11:19 AM
1 mom liked this

I think he should be allowed to be who he is. They should wait to do those kinds of surgeries until the child is old enough to decide on their own

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