Saturday, March 22, 2014

Intersex Rights

If we take reality into consideration, namely biological variation and the reality of intersex babies, then we have to admit to ourselves that assigning tiny humans with either a male or female designation at birth is, at bottom, a social determination, not an obligation or necessity dictated by nature.

Approximately one in every fifteen hundred to two thousand children born each year is diagnosed with a disorder or difference of sexual development. (Accurate figures are difficult to obtain, because it is difficult to measure degrees of physical and hormonal difference, and because many, like Ambrose, may not know they were diagnosed as such.) Some advocates believe the numbers are even higher: by the broadest measurement, one out of every hundred children has some subtle form of “sex anatomy variation.” Parents whose newborn babies have indeterminate genitalia typically follow what has long been the standard medical advice, to have doctors perform surgery to help the child conform to one or the other fixed gender category. Traditionally, the choice has been which gender to assign to the baby, not whether to put a baby through invasive surgery at all.
(Picture credit: New York Times Magazine) 

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