quote:Thirteen years later, Chase, as Sullivan began calling herself, is now known throughout the urology and endocrinology establishment as a passionate advocate for the rights of those born with ambiguous genitals, and she has succeeded in stirring a contentious debate among those doctors over how intersex babies should be treated. At the heart of the controversy is the question of whether intersex children should have surgery to make their genitals look more normal. Chase has talked to thousands of doctors and others in the medical profession, making the case that being born intersex should not be treated as shameful and require early surgery. In doing so, she has assembled an impressive intellectual arsenal, drawing on everything from the Nuremberg Code and its prohibition against experimental medical procedures without patient consent to the concept of “monster ethics” — the idea that we perform questionable medical procedures on certain patients, like intersex people and conjoined twins, when we consider those patients to be less than human. Reports on the frequency of intersex births vary widely: Chase claims 1 in 2,000; more conservative estimates from experts put it at 1 in 4,500. Whatever the case, intersex is roughly as common as cystic fibrosis, and while the outcome of the debate Chase has stirred is directly pertinent to a limited number of families, her arguments force all of us to confront some basic issues about sexual identity, birth anomalies and what rights parents have in physically shaping their kids. Will a child grow up to enjoy a better life if he or she is saved from the trials of maturing in a funny-looking body? Or will that child be better off if he or she is loved and accepted, at least at home, exactly as he or she is?
Here is a WONDERFUL, wonderful article about intersex activist Cheryl Chase at the NYT a reader of mine sent to me.
Personally, I hope, hope, hope that women like Chase will be taken more seriously and really heard, and the policies will change so that intersexed children born with ambiguous genitalia (not all are) are NOT given surgery to "correct" variations. It's ridiculous enough that our culture cannot for the life of them let go of the antiquated notion that sex (and thus gender) are binary when we know full well at this point there ARE more than two chromosomal sexes: to surgically dictate that on infants who have no choice is, to me, the very definition of obscene.
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 66600 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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I read that article in the times magazine and as I made my way through it I became progressively more and more angry- at who I wasn't sure; I suppose at parents and doctors and societies who make these kind of decisions. This kind of thing horrifies me beyond words, and I feel that it's in a way connected to my anti-circumcision, anti-FGM, anti-parents-doing-anything-physically-permanent-to-their-children-thats-not-medically-necessary perspectives. Only the sexual reassignment of intersex infants is so much worse than the equally terrible things I mentioned in the last sentence. (I know that doesn't make sense, but neither does this).
Anyway, I want to reiterate to everyone here that they should read this article, as it provides a much clearer understanding of this issue and serves as a very effective call to arms.
Posts: 84 | From: NY | Registered: Jun 2006
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