The United States affiliate of the Organization Intersex International (OII)

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Category Archives: Biomedical Ethics

Former U.S. Surgeon Generals Call For Moratorium on  Medically Unnecessary Intersex Infant Surgeries!

Former U.S. Surgeon Generals Call For Moratorium on Medically Unnecessary Intersex Infant Surgeries!

In a stunning victory for intersex advocates, three former United States Surgeon Generals published a paper yesterday, titled “Re-Thinking Genital Surgeries on Intersex Infants,” which calls for a moratorium on performing medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children! The paper’s authors, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Dr. David Satcher, and Dr. Richard Carmona, the 15th, 16th and 17th Surgeon Generals of the United States, respectively, conclude that:

“…cosmetic infant genitoplasty is not justified absent a need to ensure physical functioning, and we hope that professionals and parents who face this difficult decision will heed the growing consensus that the practice should stop.”

The doctors recommend an end to the practice based on three rationales:
1. insufficient evidence that growing up with atypical genitalia leads to psychosocial distress;
2. evidence that the surgery itself can cause severe and irreversible physical harm and emotional distress; and,
3. the fact that the surgeries violate an individual’s right to personal autonomy over their own future.

This is an important win not just nationally but globally, as these harmful practices were pioneered in the United States, and U.S. medical institutions have been slow to question them and instrumental in exporting them throughout the world. Intersex activists across the globe have been calling for an end to medically unnecessary intersex infant surgeries (also known as Intersex Genital Mutilation, or IGM) for over two decades—first by only a handful and today in droves. In 2004, our parent organization, OII, the Organization Intersex International, became the first international intersex organization and began growing an international community. Today, the international intersex movement is thriving and has been working to educate human rights bodies such as the UN about OII’s mission to attain human rights for intersex infants, children, and adults, particularly the right to bodily integrity and self-determination.

Today, we celebrate hearing these rights echoed and supported in the words of the former U.S. Surgeon Generals!

“Clitoral reductions and the removal of healthy gonads clearly infringe on the child’s right to physical integrity, preservation of sexual and gender identity, and procreative freedom.”
— Dr. Jocelyn Elders, Dr. Dr. David Satcher, and Dr. Richard Carmona, 15th, 16th and 17th Surgeon Generals of the United States

We also thank the many intersex activists around the world–many of whom have been working for decades on these changes, often unpaid and recognized–for their hard work and dedication to making this shift a reality. We’ve all been taking the steps necessary to usher in changes in how intersex people are viewed and treated, and today we can celebrate this huge one together!

http://www.palmcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Re-Thinking-Genital-Surgeries-1.pdf

Portugal Seeks To Ban Sex Reassignment Surgeries on Intersex Infants!

Portugal Seeks To Ban Sex Reassignment Surgeries on Intersex Infants!

As reported in the Gay Star News, as part of the discussion earlier today at the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), celebrated on May 17th, Forum this week in Brussels, Portugal announced legislation aimed to ban medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex babies. Brava Portugal! If passed, Portugal will become the third country… Continue Reading

Doctors Reevaluate “Disorders of Sex Development”!

“Based on their results, the authors recommend that the DSD term be updated through a collaborative effort between the medical, research and advocacy communities.” — from “Term ‘Disorders of Sex Development’ May Have Negative Impact” OII and OII-USA have advocated against the stigmatizing, harmful term “Disorders of Sex Development/DSD” since it was introduced in 2006,… Continue Reading

Intersex Activists Draft Bill SB1342 to Protect Intersex Infants!

Intersex Activists Draft Bill SB1342 to Protect Intersex Infants!

Mo Cortez, Koomah, and Interact Advocates for Intersex Youth have done something fantastic: Bill SB 1342! It’s a bill: “Relating to prohibiting nonconsensual genital surgery on certain minors with intersex traits.” See the following from The Houston Intersex Society on how you can get involved. It’s one of the first known Intersex protecting bills ever… Continue Reading

U.S. Includes Intersex People in Bans on Sex Discrimination in Federal Health Care!

U.S. Includes Intersex People in Bans on Sex Discrimination in Federal Health Care!

On May 13th, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a 362-page rule on the Obamacare/Affordable Care Act’s Section 1557, the provision of the law which bans sex discrimination in health care, which included the statement: “… the prohibition on sex discrimination extends to discrimination on the basis of intersex traits or atypical sex characteristics.” This… Continue Reading

Viloria published in Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics

Viloria published in Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics

OII-USA E.D. Hida Viloria’s essay, “Promoting Health and Social Progress by Accepting and Depathologizing Benign Intersex Traits”, has been published in the Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics fall issue, which features a Narrative Symposium on Intersex. From the NIB website’s description of the symposium: What are the joys and heartaches faced by people diagnosed intersex? These symposium authors… Continue Reading

New study confirms OII’s message: we are “Intersex”, not “DSDs”!

A recent study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology (March 16, 2015), titled, “Congenital adrenal hyperplasia patient perception of ‘disorders of sex development’ nomenclature”, found that: “71.0% disliked or strongly disliked the term DSD. 83.6% stated they did not identify with the term DSD. 76.0% felt that the term DSD has a negative… Continue Reading

Viloria on discrimination against intersex women athletes in The Advocate

We’re thrilled to to have this essay by OII-USA Director Hida Viloria run in The Advocate, although we note they changed the original title – “Bullying By Any Other Name: What’s Really Behind Regulations for Women with High Testosterone” – to, “Stop Freaking Out About Female Intersex Athletes”. The essay elaborates on the issue in… Continue Reading

Aljazeera interviews Viloria on sports policies for intersex female athletes

Aljazeera interviews Viloria on sports policies for intersex female athletes

  Our E.D. Hida Viloria is on Aljazeera’s The Stream today, speaking with scholars Payoshni Mitra, PhD, and Katrina Karkazis, PhD, author of Fixing Sex, about how sporting regulations for intersex women, specifically those with hyperandrogegism (high natural testosterone levels), are discriminatory, as witnessed in the recent case of India’s Dutee Chand. Viloria has lobbied extensively against… Continue Reading

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