“Let them enjoy their bodies, celebrate that difference”

Let them enjoy their bodies, celebrate that difference – parent.

This feature by The Feed on SBS ended with these fine words by a parent of an adolescent with an intersex variation. The Feed interviewed a parent, along with Bonnie Hart (president of AISSGA, Morgan Carpenter (president, OII Australia) and Shubha Srinivasan (Westmead Hospital and co-chair of the Australian Paediatric Endocrine Group’s DSD sub-committee).

I feel like that surgery created more health problems for me than it fixed – Bonnie.

This is a great exploration of Bonnie’s personal story, that of the anonymous parent and her daughter, and the consequence of past medical practices, and we thank SBS and Rani Chaleyer for their work and the opportunity. The feature begins to explain the current human rights situation facing people with intersex variations in Australia – and the reason why the parent’s words are so important.

One of the key human rights issues is not really the existence of binary genders, but what is done medically to make us conform to those norms – Morgan.

Current “therapeutic” rationales for “normalising” genital surgeries on infants include marriageability and the belief that children’s bodies need to be modified to prevent stigma, despite known consequences for sexual function and sensation.

A 2013 cross-party Senate committee report – a world first by any parliament – called for scrutiny and made strong recommendations to change clinical practices, and we welcomed that report. The government has yet to respond to the report.

In early 2015, OII Australia made a submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission detailing our concerns.

Morgan provides some commentary in a news article on 16 March, Comment: ‘curing’ intersex is damaging and common.

Read more from SBS on this story.
Read the commentary on SBS by Morgan
Thanks again to Rani and SBS.