General News

California to ban non-consensual surgery on intersex infants

Rachel Badham January 17, 2021

California could be the first American state to outlaw non-consensual surgery on intersex children under six years old, after out gay state senator, Scott Wiener, introduced Senate Bill 225. It aims to delay irreversible operations intended to ‘correct’ the genitalia of people born intersex until they are six years old, with the hope young patients time to be able to develop greater understanding of their gender identity and what surgery entails.

Wiener explained the bill in a statement: “This legislation gives children and their families more time to research and opt in or out of non-emergency surgeries to irreversibly change a child’s sex characteristics. We must provide people the ability to make important healthcare decisions for themselves — especially when healthcare decisions are associated with a person’s gender assignment, and can result in long-term pain, PTSD, depression, and a loss of sexual sensation.”

Scott Wiener

InterACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, Equality California, and the American Civil Liberties Union of California, have all signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. InterACT told Them: “Many adults who underwent these surgeries as infants have expressed deep concern and anguish about the procedures. The intersex community is leading the movement to ensure that no matter what gender identity a person grows up to have, everyone born with unique sex anatomy should be able to play a role in major healthcare choices.”

Equality California’s executive director, Rick Chavez Zbur, added: “The LGBTQ+ community – transgender, nonbinary and intersex folks in particular – have been fighting for decades to secure our rights to make decisions about our own bodies. That fight continues today. Children born with diverse physical sex traits and their parents should be able to participate in the critically important decision-making process regarding medically unnecessary and often irreversible surgical interventions.”