Simon Zobel. The hermaphrodite question: when scientific standards, medicine and culture collide.

Why are girls the only children protected under the law?

Human Genital Mutilation can be inflicted on all children – including those whose physical gender is not completely female or male at birth. Doctors used to be taught that it was “for the best” to operate on intersex people as early as possible in childhood so that a gender could be allotted to the child – according to the Surgeon’s best guess. This approach has had very bad consequences – some individuals get allocated the wrong gender – a better approach is to wait until the child can give informed consent after puberty when the natural gender becomes self apparent.

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