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“And the fact that the word has ‘sex’ in it, that’s double jeopardy.
Particularly for parents of a newborn who hear that word for the first time, it’s so alarming.
The surgery has other lifelong impacts, as well—some research has shown that 20 to 30 percent of these surgeries have resulted in a dramatic loss of sexual sensation.“We’re trying to take a lot of the alarm out of it, just by saying to everybody—even people in the medical community—to slow down and not rush to ‘fix’ something right away,” says Green.
“The classic case is for the child to be swooped up and put in neonatal care.
Intersex Awareness Day, celebrated on October 26, grew out of the first public intersex demonstration in Boston in 1996, where the American Academy of Pediatrics was holding its annual conference.
Their demand was that the AAP stop treating intersexuality as a birth defect that can be corrected, outgrown, and forgotten.
Every day in hospital maternity wards, intersex babies are born to freaked-out parents who’ve never even heard of such a thing, parents in a highly emotional state who are offered the immediate opportunity to surgically alter their child.
“It usually suggests to people that someone has all the organs of males and females—but that is not physically possible.
She comes to see me speak, and since she works as a therapist, I think it’s really helped to educate her to be a better therapist.”The fight against the knee-jerk inclination to conduct surgery at birth is both medical and social.
For one, since almost all such surgeries create female, not male genitalia for the child, this can be extremely distressing for kids who feel male once they start growing up.
But we are not our genitals, any of us, whether our bodies are ‘right’ or not.
Let parents bond with their baby, and don’t create this panic around the idea that your child isn’t right.”This focus on medical care, and building a holistic support network of family and knowledgeable medical professionals, grew out of a movement that has not hesitated to take to the streets.