The Intersex Controversy; Suffering As Standard Treatment
World-wide, infants and adults alike undergo forced, invasive surgery to 'correct' something which is seen as socially undesirable. Brainwashing, propaganda and falsified medical reports are common methods employed.
The issue at hand is that of intersex individuals, people born without the 'normal' male or female body so desired by most societies. While very few intersex conditions form any kind of medical risk, almost every intersex individual undergoes minor to major surgery. In the case of infants very rarely are they told as they grow up what has happened to them. It's a major taboo.
The system responsible for this has produced a medical protocol which among other things denies that intersex exists, instead classifying it as a generic development disorder and advocating surgery within the first few years of an intersex child to eradicate any trace of the condition. The protocol is called Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People and is produced by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). This protocol can be found at this link.
The WPATH protocol has the following to say about the official medical term of 'intersex':
"Disorders of sex development (DsD): Congenital conditions in which the development of chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomic sex is atypical. Some people strongly object to the 'disorder' label and instead view these conditions as a matter of diversity (Diamond, 2009), preferring the terms intersex and intersexuality."
Firstly they call 'intersex' a disorder, whereby 'disorder' is medically defined as "a disruption of normal physical or mental functions" (Oxford Dictionary, 10th ed.). As pointed out already, very few intersex conditions warrant any kind of medical treatment. The use of the term 'disorder' is therefore incorrect and harmful. Secondly there's the derogatory attitude towards those who disagree with the use of 'Disorders of Sex Development', which as I know from experience includes most intersex people, including myself.
That modifying or assigning a person's gender or sex is an extremely harmful thing is illustrated by the following paragraph from chapter XV of the WPATH protocol:
"Most people with a DSD who are born with genital ambiguity do not develop gender dysphoria (e.g., Meyer-Bahlburg et al., 2004; Wisniewski et al., 2004). However, some people with a DSD will develop chronic gender dysphoria and even undergo a change in their birth-assigned sex and/ or their gender role (Meyer-Bahlburg, 2005; Wilson, 1999; Zucker, 1999). If there are persistent and strong indications that gender dysphoria is present, a comprehensive evaluation by clinicians skilled in the assessment and treatment of gender dysphoria is essential, irrespective of the patient's age. Detailed recommendations have been published for conducting such an assessment and for making treatment decisions to address gender dysphoria in the context of a DSD (Meyer-Bahlburg, in press). Only after thorough assessment should steps be taken in the direction of changing a patient's birth-assigned sex or gender role."
The assumption is made that intersex individuals develop gender dysphoria (i.e. transsexuality), whereas as I have learned by talking to people who have had such surgery as an infant and later transitioned was that the reality is that simply the wrong gender was chosen. In short, gender dysphoria in intersex individuals is caused as a result of the performed surgery.
An additional protocol to the above WPATH protocol is the so-called "Consensus Statement on Management of Intersex Disorders", which describes in detail how to eradicate traces of intersex in such an individual. Very detailed and interesting, yet never even once considers the psychological side of such actions when it comes to the emotional impact it may have on the intersex individual, whether infant, child or adult.
As a more personal note, when I learned of this protocol's existence it was after seven years of fighting for recognition as an intersex (hermaphrodite) individual here in the Netherlands. I never understood why they didn't want to give me the help I felt I needed, such as physical examinations to learn how my body is put together as well as what my genetic structure is like. Reading this chapter XV of the Standards of Care protocol makes me feel sick to my stomach as I realize that everything which has been done to me, and the consequent traumatic disorders I suffered, weren't indicative of protocol errors or uncooperative physicians and psychologists. No, they were following the protocol to the letter.
And that is exactly why this protocol is wrong.