Is Gender Re-assignment of Intersex Children right?
ETHICAL ISSUES OF GENDER RE-ASSAIGNMENT4
Is Gender Re-assignment ofIntersex Children right?
Anintersex person is someone who is born witha sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definition of male orfemale. The society has its owndefinition of what is normal and what is not. The things that seemdifferent from what people are used to areusually termedas abnormal. Intersex people have beensubjected tostigma due to the mentality that if you are not male or female,then you are abnormal. When a child is born intersex, some doctorstake it upon themselves to "correct" the child`s genitaliaso that they can fit the male or female definitions of a human beingthrough surgery. Such reassignment of gender gives rise to variousethical issues.
One of the issues that ariseis that of consent. Whose consent should be required before such achild undergoes surgery to remove either of their genitalia? Sincethe surgeriesareconducted when achild is still young, it is hard to get theirconsent on whether or not they want tohave the surgery. It is always up to the parents who act as a child`slegal representative, to make the decision. Whenever the parents areconsulted, theytend to agree with what the doctors tell them. The children who gothrough such procedures deserve a say in what should happen to theirbodies. It is therefore not right to carry out aprocedure andtake away a fundamental part of someone`s identity without theirconsent. Every intersex individual has the right to be given a chanceto decide on matters concerning their bodies and what gender theydefine themselves as (Tell, 2014).
The gender reassignment of anindividual is permanent and irreversible. The surgical procedures achild who is born intersex undergoes to make them "normal,"are irreversible. Such anindividual willgrow up and developvarious complications which make their lives hard. For instance, somechildren who are born intersex, undergo these corrective surgeries tomake them male may later live their lives feeling like they aresupposed to be female. They are forced to live as one gender yet theyare more comfortable being another without the choice of ever gettingback what wastaken from them.Such individuals never get to enjoy being who they are and aredenied thechance to reproduce since the surgeries can lead to irreversiblefertility (Drescher & Byne, 2012).
These "normalizing"surgeries performed on intersex children increases social stigma.Since these procedures are meant to make a child "normal,"they give riseto the idea that being born intersex is not normal. It contributes tothe stigmatization of individuals who are born intersex. The societyalready has a misconception about what is normal and what is not.Therefore, conducting surgeries to "fix" intersex peopleonly confirms this position and encourages the fallacy (Tell, 2014).
Even though the doctors whoconduct these surgeries operate under the belief that they are doingwhat is best for the child, the "normalizing" surgeries arewrong. It is not up to a doctor or a child`s parents to decide on thegender of any individual. Such a person should be allowed to livetheir lives and chose whichever sex they want to beidentified aslater. People should not be fixed to fit the ideas that people insociety have, the society should change their ideologies toaccommodate individuals who are different.
Drescher, J., & Byne, W.(2012). GenderDysphoric/Gender Variant (GD/GV) Children and Adolescents:Summarizing What WeHave Yet to Learn. Journalof Homosexuality, 59(3)501-510
Tell, S. (2014). IntersexManagement in the U.S and Non-Western Cultures.The Einstein Journalof Biology and Medicine.
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