Intersex and Transex Surgery on Children

There are more children than one would think that fall into these groups.

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I’m an academic and scaler of boundary walls, intersex by birth, female-reared, legally transitioned to male status, and pleased with my trajectory. Come journey with me! I blog about intersex issues at , and about trans issues at .
If you are interested in contacting me or having me speak to your organization, please email


“What I would do is to point out that strange and conflicting ideas about children’s autonomy and free will are presented by our opponents. When specialists in intersex “corrective” treatments speak to parents or write in medical journals, they urge that genital surgery be performed in infancy, before age two and a half if at all possible. They claim that this way the child will not remember the treatment and will thus adjust well to the altered genitals and/or sex status. (As if medical monitoring and intervention did not often extend throughout the child’s life, and the procedures left no scars and caused no loss of sensation, so the child would “never notice.”) The age of two and a half came out of now largely-discredited ideas of a milestone of “gender constancy” occurring then, based upon notions of the developing brain that directly relate to autonomy. Before age 2.5, it was basically argued, the baby is irrational and lacks agency, and thus thinks magically about bodily sex, including accepting the “crazy” idea that the sex of the body can change. So, in urging very early intervention into intersex bodies today, conventional medicine is urging the total avoidance of the child’s rational thought and agency.
When it comes to treating trans children, on the other hand, instead of rushing things, all sorts of actors want to draw them out. Most doctors and clinics only provide transition services to legal adults. Those few who treat trans children are extremely cautious about providing any medical interventions other than the postponing of puberty.
Both of these approaches deny children autonomy over their bodies and their lives.
What we must urge is that society consistently respect the rights of children. No children should ever be subjected to sexual surgery without their consent. No children should be forced to have cosmetic surgery. But as children mature, they become able to consent to medical treatment that they do actively desire.”


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