We are very pleased and excited to see this recent piece titled, “Infant Intersex Surgery: Genital Mutilation in the U.S.?“, in Law Street Media! OII-USA, along with other advocates, has always considered medically unnecessary, non-consensual, “normalizing” genital surgeries and medical treatments of intersex people to be a human rights violation akin to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which is why we often refer to the practice as Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM). Indeed, the similarities were detailed over a decade ago in a fantastic article in the Harvard Law Review. We are thus thrilled to see the U.S. press finally beginning to follow advocates’ lead by referring to these procedures as “genital mutilation”, and rightly calling them what they are: a human rights violation!
This is a far cry from several pieces in the U.S. that ran earlier this year with titles such as, “Parents of Intersex Children Faced with Difficult Question” (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/02/09/parents-of-intersex-children-face-difficult-decision-whether-or-not-to-perform-surgery-after-birth/), and “Difficult Decision for Parents of Intersex Children” (http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/live-news/2015/5/the-difficult-decision-for-parents-of-intersex-children.html). Intersex people are subjected to extreme forms of violence due to intense discrimination against us, and this should be the focus of media coverage: not the difficulties that some parents have, due to societal prejudice, in accepting their intersex kids. Just imagine, if you will, if the media covered the discrimination against other marginalized communities, such as LGBT people, by focusing on the difficulty for parents or others who can’t accept them– it is misguided and does not address the real prejudice marginalized communities face.
We commend and thank author Jennifer Polish, A CUNY graduate student, for keeping the focus on intersex people and ending the human rights violations against us! Polish obviously did her homework to research this piece, which features a video excerpt with OII-USA’s Hida Viloria, along with other resources by other fabulous activists. Please share.