April 24, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
The parents of babies with intersex traits are often persuaded by the medical establishment to have their newborns undergo unnecessary genital surgeries, according to Council Member Daniel Dromm.
A bill passed the city council earlier this week, sponsored by Dromm, that aims to bring attention to these “unnecessary treatments” and requires the Department of Health to conduct public outreach campaigns to inform parents and the medical establishment about the implications of such surgeries.
Often children who undergo these treatments grow up identifying with a different gender. The long-term results can be psychologically damaging. The bill passed last week aims to help New Yorkers understand the adverse effects of such treatments.
“Parents of infants with intersex traits are often forced to rely on quackery masquerading as medical science, leading them to make decisions that inflict life-long physical and psychological trauma on their children,” Dromm posted to twitter last year reported Gay City News.
The surgeries are not reversible, and raise questions about medical consent and stigmatization.
“We cannot as a movement, or as a society for that matter, say that we respect the right to bodily integrity and the foundational concept of consent yet ignore the injustices perpetrated by much of the medical establishment against our intersex siblings,” said Dromm about the bill, titled Intro. 1748-A.
“Intro. 1748-A does not make any decisions for anyone; it simply aims to share accurate information about intersex traits and variations in sex characteristics,” Dromm said.
Kyle Knight, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, calls the bill a “significant step” towards intersex children being protected against “coercive and unnecessary” medical procedures.
“New York’s hospitals should follow the Council’s lead and celebrate intersex lives instead of attempting to change intersex people’s bodies before they can walk or talk, let alone make such a major medical decision for themselves,” said Knight.
Up to 1.7 percent of the world population are born with intersex traits, according to the United Nations.