#May17Because intersex children do not need your interventions

According to Advocates for Informed Choice (AIC), a nonprofit organization advocating on behalf of intersex children, an estimated one in 2,000 babies is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy and/or chromosome pattern that doesn’t seem to fit typical definitions of male or female. In America beginning in the 1950’s, infants and children born with intersex traits were given multiple surgeries and other medical interventions intended to make their bodies appear to match the understood standards of male and female. Their families were told to keep this a secret. Doctors believed that early surgery and secrecy would help the child develop a “normal” gender identity; ignoring the life-long emotional and physical impact of their actions on the intersex people.

Instead of recognizing the variation in sexual anatomy and reminding us that anatomical sex is not fixed, but fluid, such unnecessary surgeries are taking place even today. In honor of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia GLAAD wants to raise awareness on intersex issues, generate greater understanding, and bring your attention to the difficulties intersex people face, especially within the medical community. To understand and to imagine the challenges, watch a video documenting AIC President Sean Saifa Wall sharing his story while confronting his childhood surgeon. The version below was edited by AIC to issue more clarification and correct information. 

In only 6 days thousands of advocates and LGBT allies form around the world will celebrate the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in an attempt to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBT people internationally. As part of GLAAD's Global Voices program, which works to accelerate LGBT acceptance across the globe, GLAAD will participate and celebrate IDAHOT together with thousands of diverse groups and individuals. As IDAHOT 2015 approaches, we give you 17 reasons, one every day, why May 17 matters. We invite you to create and share your own, via the hashtag #May17Because and amplify the voice for LGBT equality.

#May17Because Rule #11: Intersex children do not need your interventions society does.