Malta Bans Surgery on Intersex Children

Comments

1
I did not know you wrote for The Stranger--pleased to see it. Recently finished reading your new book, it was an eye-opener.
2
Many people (including myself) have criticised Malta for their lack of will to enforce the EU legislation drawn up to prevent the hunting of migrating birds. However, this time I am full of praise for this groundbreaking legislation which is long overdue in many countries, including the USA and other EU countries including the UK. Intersex is NOT an illness and most intersex infants do not require surgery. No one should undergo non-consensual cosmetic alterations to their genitalia in order to fit them into a binary standard. Most intersex children will clearly indicate their gender identity well before they start school and any surgery for non-medical reasons can wait until the child is old enough to make these kind of decisions for themselves.
3
I completely misread the lede at first. I think the word "elective" threw me. "Wait," thinks I, "they won't let those poor kids sort themselves out?"

Nope! That's not it at all. Quite the opposite. They won't let doctors take wild-assed guesses as to what some intersex infant's gender identity is going to be later on. (PS. "Intersex" is falling out of use. I believe current nomenclature prefers "DSD" -- Disorders of Sexual Development.)

Historically, it seems when doctors try to keep parents from being embarrassed by their DSD newborn's condition by offering surgical "clean up," they're wrong just about 50% of the time as to what that child's gender identity is going to be. As there are basically two dominant choices, that's a pretty pathetic track record and a bunch of ruined lives.

This way, other than any necessary surgical intervention to allow peeing, if they just leave the stuff alone, the kid will have enough material for surgeons to work with later on, after he or she figures out which gender they need to be.
4
My mom worked at Children's Hospital back in the day (70s and 80s). She was an anesthesiologist, not a surgeon, but she said her biggest regret was not speaking up against the practice of doing this kind of surgery on intersex babies.
5
@3: intersex is to DSD as transgender is to "Gender Identity Disorder"