US: Intersex People Want to End Nonconsensual Surgeries

A growing number of patients have spoken out in recent years about how surgeries, performed when they were too young to understand—much less give consent—have deprived them of sexual pleasure, sterilized them, traumatized them, or altered their bodies to reinforce a gender assignment that is not theirs. 

UPDATE, August 23, 3:20 p.m.: The California Assembly passed the nonbinding resolution on Thursday. The measure will now head to the senate for final approval.

UPDATE, August 14, 1:28 p.m.: The California State Assembly Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning advanced the nonbinding resolution in favor of deferring medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children. The measure now heads for a vote before the Assembly and final approval by the senate. “I’m very excited,” Hans Lindahl, communications director for interACT, told Rewire.News after the vote. “We’re ready for our final call.”

Growing up, Pidgeon Pagonis had a recurring nightmare of being rushed down a corridor in a hospital bed, lights blaring overhead. Pagonis, who is intersex and whose pronoun is “they,” would look down to see bloody gauze between their legs. It wasn’t until later, when Pagonis read their medical records and pieced together the details of the surgeries they had undergone as a child, that they realized the nightmare was actually a memory.

Until then, Pagonis, now 32, believed what their parents, acting on the advice of doctors, had told them: They were just like any other girl, but they wouldn’t get a period or be able to have kids because their ovaries were removed due to cancer when they were a baby.

But in college, a professor mentioned intersex conditions in class, and Pagonis felt like a lightbulb had gone off. They obtained their medical records and read them, sobbing, behind a locked door in a tiny, cinder block-walled study room at DePaul University in Chicago. Pagonis learned that as a baby they were considered “entirely well” until a pediatrician noticed an “enlarged clitoris and small vaginal opening.”  Read more via Rewire.News