Why Intersex Genital Mutilation Needs to Stop

People who are born intersex aren't different or abnormal, yet doctors still perform often unnecessary surgeries on them without consent.

According to intersex advocates Hanne Gaby Odiele, Emily Quinn and Pidgeon Pagonis, intersex people across the world are being subjected to genital surgery that they don't need and don't consent to. These surgeries are not only traumatic, they say, they perpetuate the unnecessary shame and stigma associated with being intersex.

Organization Intersex International says Intersex Genital Mutilation is the practice of performing surgery on young intersex people for cultural or religious reasons, often using medical necessity as the reason given for surgery. Research, however, shows that young intersex people who do not have surgery are healthy until they reach an age at which they can decide to have surgery themselves. If an intersex person does decide to have surgery, that's totally OK. It's the issue of performing the surgery when someone is too young to consent that poses an issue.

"So what you hear happening as, like, Female Genital Mutilation in other places happens to intersex children here and it's called intersex genital mutilation, and they literally just removed my clitoris. And when I was 11, they did a vaginoplasty," Pidgeon said "So they, without my permission or consent, stretched out my vagina in ways to make it more accommodating to my future husband's penis. And these are a few of the things that happen to intersex children all over the world. It's an injustice and it's an attack against our human rights." Read more and watch an interview with young people via Teen Vogue