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Education [Campaign] Please support restoring human rights for intersex people

Discussion in 'General' started by Elledan, 30 Jul 2011.

  1. Elledan

    Elledan New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    A few weeks ago a couple of friends, acquaintances (from OII and other organizations) and I decided to start a campaign for informing people about the existence of intersex ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex ), with a petition accompanying it to address the issue of intersex people being denied their human rights. Most countries do not acknowledge the existence of intersex, despite it being very common (between 1:25 and 1:1,000), and intersex individuals are generally forced to undergo surgery - even babies and young children - to make them 'normal'.

    The petition can be found here: http://www.change.org/petitions/uphold-human-rights-for-intersex-people

    We would very much appreciate it if you would sign the petition and share it with others. Thank you in advance :)
     
  2. SolidShot

    SolidShot Member

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    From Wiki.

    Says it all really, a genetic mutation...
     
  3. Guest-23315

    Guest-23315 Guest

    So? Everyone is different.

    The only normal thing about us is that were all different. It shouldn't matter what you have or haven't got down there.
     
  4. SuicideNeil

    SuicideNeil New Member

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    It doesn't in that respect, but I don't agree with the notion that people of indeterminate sex are 'forced' against their will to have a sex selected for them; given all the drama ( suicide threats and such ) this topic has generated I'd think it would be a relief to be able to say & feel that you are one sex or the other & are happy about it. Sure, mistakes do get made and people feel they were assigned the wrong sex at birth ( can't really help that ), but these things can be corrected, so that a person feels happy in their body, regards the sex they are and the feelings they have about being said sex.

    I support the cause, but I don't agree that intersex sufferers are being denied human rights or recognition in that respect, it's just backwards thinking about medical conditions in some european countries & other parts of the world- their governments see intersex as just another birth defect, not a condition that justifies some massive shift in policy in order to supply treatment ( assuming that's what is wanted by the sufferer ).

    Recognition of the condition and better training for doctors to understand it is one thing, but recognition of intersex suffers as somehow being a different group of people in that sense just isn't realistic- it is a genetic abnormality which wasn't caught or treated when you were born, nothing more in that sense and no different essentially to having 6 fingers, webbed toes or being born with no brain.
     
  5. thehippoz

    thehippoz New Member

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    signed as Meborne Burns

    nice your promoting something you believe in.. that's what it's all about

    how come I can't ever meet someone like this though :D

     
  6. Kiytan

    Kiytan Shiny

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    And so on that basis we shouldn't help?





    Signed btw.
     
  7. Malvolio

    Malvolio .

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    ...just like my webbed toes. Should I not go out for my daily walkies, then?

    Although the number may be far less, I would still equate this type of idealistic movement to that of women's rights, as they too were subjugated, misunderstood, and scolded for being "imperfect", "impure", or "improper". Whilst I would agree with the prevailing medical theory that intersexed peoples are as they are due to varying slight genetic mutations in certain key areas of our genome, I don't see why people born as such cannot be recognised for what and who they are without fear of certain negative social stigmas being attached to them.

    Genetic abnormalities are merely a matter of opinion, as all carbon-based lifeforms that inhabit this planet exist on a spectrum in their many forms, not as separate points with a "perfect" form for each. We're all quite different, each creature, but to say that something has a genetic abnormality would only serve to limit your view of reality. Therefore: think of being intersexed as not so much an abnormality or as an impure scar upon nature, but more as another identifier of a person, much akin to their hair colour, or fingernails.

    Needless to say, I've signed it as well, and sent it on to as many people as I know to allow them to sign. Best of luck, and keep us updated!
     
  8. dancingbear84

    dancingbear84 error 404

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    I have a bit of a sore head so I may not have read this properly, but that its a huge variance. That means in my place of work there could be between 1/4 of an intersex person or 10.
    I've not read the links yet as it is too early for a lot of reading so they may explain more there, I'm just trying to understand the outline in the post
     
  9. Elledan

    Elledan New Member

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    First of all a big thanks to those who signed & shared the petition! :)

    The point is that hospitals etc. do not (properly) register the number of intersex births, meaning that one has to use statistical models which can give big variances. There is also a lot of conservatism among some groups of physicians as to which conditions are 'intersex' and which aren't.

    As for putting intersex off as just a minor genetic mutation which should be correct, I should point out that I am a hermaphrodite, the result of two embyros merging in the womb. I got both XX and XY cells, each of which have contributed to part of my development, which resulted in a completely mixed up genital configuration. After reading the details on my site, how would you suggest this 'minor' genetic mutation gets corrected surgically?

    How'd you fix 'women' with CAIS (Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrom) who have only XY cells, but are physically 100% women except for being infertile? How about the other forms of AIS? What about XXY? etc.

    One of the big dangers with the treatment of intersex by physicians and politicians is that of ignorance. Dismissing it as a mere genetic mutation and unworthy of classifying IS people as such is exactly what has led to the suffering.

    Among such suffering is that of people finding out later in life that they're transsexual, only to find out that they were actually born intersex, but had their sex picked by their parents and/or physician after birth. This is far more common than one might think, leading to suggestions that all or most transsexual people are in fact intersex, just unrecognized or wrongly treated.

    Anyway, there is a lot to be said about this subject and most of it has been written down already so I won't repeat it here :)
     
  10. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Nice enlightened view there. So what about other "mutations"? Should we not help anyone with a more "normal" genetic mutation either.. or just those with a "sexual" issue that makes you uncomfortable with your own sexuality.

    Even if it wasn't physically based, and purely psychological, would that make the person's plight any less?

    Grow up.

    Signed!
     
  11. mucgoo

    mucgoo Well-Known Member

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    So how would you treat this problem?
    No operation and let the person decide when there 15-20. Well by that stage they've had at least 5 years of the trauma of being different plus I'm presuming reconfiguring sexual organs is much easier in the very young than mature young adults.

    Fighting for the right to be recognized as inter sex. Why? Human rights aren't being infringed in any meaningful way. Most people fight to have to give less information about themselves in forms.
     
  12. Elledan

    Elledan New Member

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    The preferred option among specialists and parents who care is to let the child grow up and decide before puberty hits. Let the child decide, basically. With the right guidance the child doesn't have to suffer any traumas.

    I and others have had medical help and treatment denied (see my site for details), we also regularly suffer discrimination and violence from police and others. I currently got possibly permanent damage in my wrists and knee from my last encounter with the police here. My only crime was objecting against my family doctor's office treating me like filth, which triggered the PSTD, DID etc. which I suffer from.

    Because I'm not being recognized as being intersex I'm forced to live with an official gender which doesn't match my appearance at all, resulting in me having to explain my situation over and over. I have had ID cards rejected in some instances because they thought it wasn't mine. Only way to resolve this at the moment would be for me to pretend to be transsexual, get a sex-reassignment surgery, forget about any long-term health effects from my IS condition (pray it doesn't cause cancer or so, as is fairly common), and never talk about being IS again.

    If that isn't being denied one's human rights I don't know what is. It really helps to be informed about this issue before announcing one's opinion on it.
     
  13. murraynt

    murraynt Well-Known Member

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    Signed..
     
  14. frizzeh

    frizzeh New Member

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    It would be quite hard for hospitals to register most intersex births as the child appears completely normal, as you did, you were only born with a visible penis and no signs of intersex.

    This is only according to yourself, none of what you say is wrong with you has been officially diagnosed by any person in the medical profession thus far so you probably shouldn't preach it as if it were a fact.

    You neglect to mention the fact that you trashed the doctor's office, acted in a threatening manner then resisted arrest.

    I support the fact that intersexuals are entitled to the same human rights as everyone else but I don't see how your rights are being infringed, you have recieved and are still recieving medical treatment for your condition through MRIs and hormone treatment, you are not being persecuted or discriminated against for your condition, in fact I doubt anybody that saw you in the street would even recognise there was anything unusual about you.

    There is an intersex clinic right here in the UK as I'm sure there are in other countries so I can't see how you could possibly say that intersexs are not recognised by physicians
     
  15. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    I've read and seen enough to sign without getting into the arguments that this thread has thrown up.

    Good luck.
     
  16. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    I don't think this has ever been a good idea, in the history of the world, ever. Just sayin'.

    My understanding is that in a lot of hermaphodite cases it'd be dangerous or at least inconveniencing to not perform surgery, as having two sets of genitals just isn't that handy even for normal bodily functions, let alone with regard to sexuality later on. I think it serves the majority's interests to perform surgery as the default.

    The thing is this: there may be one or two hermaphrodites who'd grow up to be happy with their identity as an intersex person, but are probably more who, if left unoperated, would grow up to regret not having been given a gender. And as has been said, if they happen to get the coin-flip wrong, there is sex change surgery.

    I dunno, it just seems to me that it's better to do something than to do nothing. A lot of it does depend to a large degree on the doctor's personal judgement, though, which is a bit discomforting.

    edit -
    also, regarding the petition itself, it's kinda crap - not a pointless cause, or anything, just really ineffectual legally and politically. It just urges the UN to "take action to ensure that the human rights of intersex people are upheld and that they are shown the same support and respect as anyone else." That's too vague to do or mean anything; it's just a sentiment. The next part is slightly more specific: "Intersex people must be protected from discrimination and from unwanted surgery. Provision must be made for them to receive medical support where needed without insurance penalties." But that's still vague. What exactly do you want the UN to do? What action do you want to see? The petition doesn't make it clear. Intersex people are protected from discrimination, to the same degree as anyone else: if your boss fired you for being intersex, it's be just as illegal as him firing you for being black or Jewish or ginger or liberal. If someone harassed you repeatedly for being intersex, it'd be illegal. If you were refused a public service for it, that'd be illegal. Your rights to freedom from discimination are already taken care of by present law.

    Alternatively, if by discrimination you mean people being mean to you, or offending you, or distancing you: tough break. You don't have a right not to be called names or treated rudely.

    And finally: as has been said many times, intersex people already are entitled to medical support, if at all possible. You've been denied medical support because your condition is simply beyond the comprehension, categories and practices of your country's doctors, and the UN can't do anything about that. They can't waltz in and reform your country's medical establishments.

    Like I said, I agree with the sentiment, but I don't think this petition is actually going to do anything. So it's just a sympathy poll. If it had more specific actionable requests, I'd probably sign it.
     
    Last edited: 31 Jul 2011
  17. KayinBlack

    KayinBlack Currently Rebuilding

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    Signed. I can speak from experience about genetic mutations causing hell with one's life (not like yours, of course, but hell anyways.)
     
  18. Elledan

    Elledan New Member

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    That's the whole thing, if any surgeries are done before puberty hits there isn't a real problem, and most children will be quite aware of what's best for them before they hit that stage, assuming there's proper guidance from their environment, informing and assisting them.

    I'm always open for improvements. The current petition text was written by Jennie Kermode, a freelance journalist who also chairs at TransMedia Watch.

    I'd also like to point out that there is generally no medical support for intersex people. The thing is that medical policy, even if it's not publicized, is to 'help' IS people by making them 'normal'. This has been policy since at least the 1960s, IIRC. The options given to IS people here in the Netherlands are to either not fight to be recognized as such, or to undergo sex-reassignment surgery and be marked as a transsexual. In short there is no way for a hermaphrodite to be acknowledged as such and get medical treatment which isn't focused on making said person 'normal'. The physicians and surgeons I have talked to over the past years have made this very clear. They'll gladly help me 'become a woman', but staying a hermaphrodite is not an option.

    Anyway, if you have any more concrete demands, please tell me :) Not trying to be condescending here. It's just that after having spent so many years in this hell, it's hard for me to understand why people can not see and understand the plight IS people suffer. For me especially, having suffered PTSD, etc. but I'm unable to get treatment for that even, since therapists send me back with the message that I need to get the medical help first, to take away the causes of said PTSD. For me it's all too real.
     
  19. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    That's because there isn't any. If you want to stay as you are, that by definition means that they do nothing.

    I know you would have liked to have exploratory surgery to assess whether you have a vagina. But in the surgeon's mind that is performing a physical intervention for psychological reasons, and they're not cool with that. Women cannot get a mastectomy either just because they are afraid of getting breast cancer --there has to be a medical reason such as a significant genetic risk.

    More concrete demands would be the legal recognition of IS conditions (and you need to define what that means), and a concrete pathway to getting that recognition.

    I don't think that people cannot see and understand. I just think that they do not understand what you want.
     
  20. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    Regarding treatment: you shun the idea of being normalized into one of the genders, and want recognition from the medical community as an intersexual - but as nexxo says, I'm having trouble understanding what that means you want in practical terms. Doctors and hospitals do surgery, that's their thing. If you don't want treatment, they're not the place to go at all. Whether you can simply be acknowledged as intersexual is a legal concern, isn't it? I don't blame your doctors for being a bit non-plussed when you refuse surgery but keep bothering them for revised definitions and acknowledgements. It's not really their business what you're called by law, their job is to treat the people they can treat and send the rest packing.

    This petition does seem better aimed than your previous interactions with the medical community, but like I said, it needs to be political and legislative. I've no idea how you'd go about doing that, because I don't really know much about intersexuality, but there must be lawyers who specialize in it.

    Incidentally, one thing I'm confused about is the distinction between transexuals and intersexuals. Why are you so adamant that you ought to be recognised as intersexual rather than transexual, and how should transexuals feel about your disdain for their category? As far as I can understand, the only difference is permanence - it sounds like you intend intersexuality as a more permanent label, a sort of third gender. But transexuality essentially is that, now.
     

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