Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-10-17
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

US: Doctors Need Intersex Care Standards
From a press release
2017-10-26

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


( New York, October 26, 2017 ) — Medical professional associations should enact standards of care for intersex children that rule out medically unnecessary surgery before patients are old enough to consent, Human Rights Watch and interACT said in a report released today. After decades of controversy in the medical community over the procedures, the lack of centralized care standards allows doctors to continue operating on children's gonads, internal sex organs, and genitals when they are too young to participate in the decision, even though such surgery is dangerous and could be safely deferred.

The 41-page report, "A Changing Paradigm: US Medical Provider Discomfort with Intersex Care Practices," examines the controversy over the operations inside the medical community and the pressure on parents to opt for surgery.

Once called "hermaphrodites" — a term now considered pejorative and outdated, intersex people are not rare, but their needs are widely misunderstood. Based on a medical theory popularized in the 1960s, doctors perform surgery on intersex children — often in infancy — with the stated aim of making it easier for them to grow up "normal." The results are often catastrophic, the supposed benefits are largely unproven, and there are rarely urgent health considerations requiring immediate, irreversible intervention.

"The intersex community today is saying the same thing we were saying two decades ago — we want doctors to care for us, not try to 'fix' us," said Kimberly Zieselman, an intersex woman and the executive director of interACT Advocates for Intersex Youth. "We're not anti-doctor or anti-surgery, we're just pro-consent and pro-honesty, especially for children who are too young to speak or to comprehend what's going on around them."

Human Rights Watch and interACT released the report on the 21st Intersex Awareness Day, which commemorates the first public protest against medically unnecessary surgery, at the 1996 American Academy of Pediatrics conference in Boston.

As many as 1.7 percent of babies are different from what is typically called a boy or a girl. The chromosomes, gonads, or internal, or external sex organs of these children differ from social expectations. Some intersex traits — such as atypical external genitalia — are apparent at birth. Others — such as gonads or chromosomes that do not match the expectations of the assigned sex — may manifest later in life, in some cases around puberty. Any of these children can be raised as either sex without surgery. On the other hand, genital or gonadal surgeries on intersex children too young to declare their gender identity carry the risk of surgically assigning the wrong sex.

Surgery to remove gonads can result in sterilization, and then require lifelong hormone replacement therapy. Operations to alter the size or appearance of children's genitals risk incontinence, scarring, lack of sensation, and psychological trauma. The procedures are irreversible, nerves that are severed cannot regrow, and scar tissue can limit options for future surgery. While certain surgical interventions on intersex children are undisputedly medically necessary, some surgeons in the US perform risky and medically unnecessary cosmetic surgery on intersex children, often before they are even able to talk.

Medical protocols have evolved. It is increasingly common for multi-disciplinary teams to treat intersex patients, often called cases of "Differences of Sex Development" ( DSD. ) This is a marked improvement over families meeting solely with a surgeon. Most medical practitioners now acknowledge that parents may prefer to leave their child's body intact. And while there are no centralized standards of care for intersex children, expert practitioners Human Rights Watch interviewed highlighted the need for change.

"Many children have differences," one pediatric surgeon told Human Rights Watch. "We deal with kids with all kinds of vascular anomalies and port wine stains, and we encourage those children to be out there, we encourage those children to be in school — and they are, and they do great…you can have a difference. We don't need to necessarily create normalization to make you safe and well-adjusted."

Guidelines have begun to emerge. In 2016, the American Medical Association ( AMA ) Board of Trustees issued a report recognizing that "DSD communities and a growing number of health care professionals have condemned…genital 'normalizing,' arguing that except in the rare cases in which DSD presents as life-threatening anomalies, genital modification should be postponed until the patient can meaningfully participate in decision making." The board recommended adoption of a resolution that, "except when life-threatening circumstances require emergency intervention, [doctors should] defer medical or surgical intervention until the child is able to participate in decision making."

In a 2017 letter to the AMA, the largest US support group for intersex people and parents of intersex children, called the AIS-DSD group, wrote: "We hope that the AIS-DSD Support Group will be able to shift the focus of our support efforts over time away from helping adults, youth and their families recover from medically-induced traumas, and toward support of the physical and psychological health of our members, from birth to old age."

In July 2017, three former US surgeons-general wrote that they believed "there is insufficient evidence that growing up with atypical genitalia leads to psychosocial distress," and "while there is little evidence that cosmetic infant genitoplasty is necessary to reduce psychological damage, evidence does show that the surgery itself can cause severe and irreversible physical harm and emotional distress."

In a statement marking 2017 Intersex Awareness Day, Physicians for Human Rights said: "Carrying out an irreversible and medically unnecessary surgery before a child is old enough to meaningfully consent violates informed consent requirements, and violates the obligation to do no harm," and called for an end to medically unnecessary surgery until a child is old enough to participate meaningfully in such decisions.

"Medical professional bodies should demonstrate the leadership doctors look to them for," said Kyle Knight, Human Rights Watch researcher and author of the report. "The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other specialist bodies should draw a hard line and say that except in cases of medical necessity, surgery on intersex children should be delayed until they can participate in the decision themselves."

"A Changing Paradigm: US Medical Provider Discomfort with Intersex Care Practices" is available at:

www.hrw.org/node/310340/ .

For more information, please contact:

In New York, for Human Rights Watch, Kyle Knight ( English ): +1-212-216-1290 ( office ); or +1-917-794-6690 ( mobile ); or knightk@hrw.org . Twitter: @knightktm

In New York, for Human Rights Watch, Graeme Reid ( English ): +1-212-216-1288 ( office ); or +1-203-606-5847 ( mobile ); or reidg@hrw.org . Twitter: @Graemecreid

In New York, for interACT, Cindi Creager, ( English ): 646-279-4559; or cindi@creagercole.com .


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Planned Parenthood Videos Help Parents, Kids Talk About Bodies, Gender, Identities 2018-10-17 - New York, NY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America has launched the first set of videos in a new series for parents and ...


Gay News

HIV Care Connect releases health quiz 2018-10-17 - In an effort to assist Illinois residents living with HIV who are affected by social determinants of health, Illinois HIV Care Connect has ...


Gay News

Jury awards Wis. trans women $780K 2018-10-17 - In Madison, Wisconsin, a jury awarded $780,000 to two transgender state employees who were denied insurance coverage of transition surgeries, The Milwaukee Journal ...


Gay News

Trans Israeli activist Ofer Erez on making IDF history, Open House role 2018-10-17 - Ofer Erez, 25, made history when he became Israel's first openly trans Israel Defense Forces ( IDF ) officer in 2013. Erez has ...


Gay News

Two spaces celebrate access to artists with disabilities 2018-10-17 - Accessibility has many shades of meaning in the arts, far beyond the question of "Is this work that people can understand?" For artists ...


Gay News

PFLAG conference Nov. 10 in suburb 2018-10-17 - The PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois is hosting a day-long PFLAG Conference on Saturday, Nov. 10, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at Southminster Presbyterian Church, ...


Gay News

YEPP's 'Rise Up' taking place Nov. 14 2018-10-17 - In recognition of the Transgender Day of Remembrance/Resilience and Youth Homelessness Awareness Month, Youth Empowerment Performance Project ( YEPP ) will host "Rise ...


Gay News

The Trans Generation 2018-10-17 - By Ann Travers $25; New York University Press; 261 pages Boy or girl? That's a common enough question, if you're ...


Gay News

Project VIDA celebrates National Coming Out Day 2018-10-17 - On Oct. 11, Project VIDA, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health, presented an event marking National Coming Out Day at ...


Gay News

Legal Council for Health Justice marks three decades with gala 2018-10-16 - Legal Council for Health Justice ( LCHJ ) celebrated 30 years with a gala at Venue West on Oct. 13. Formerly named the ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.