Intersex babies should not face immediate surgery, MP insists

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from Independent:

Parents should no longer have to make quick decisions on sex reassignment surgery if their children are born with ambiguous genitalia as is presently the case, as such decisions can have severe repercussions several years down the line, government MP Deborah Schembri insisted this evening.

Dr Schembri was speaking during the debate on the private member’s motion by opposition MP and civil liberties spokesman Claudette Buttigieg, which amends the Constitution to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Presently, the MP explained, intersex babies are not discharged from hospital until their parents decide what their sex should be and appropriate gender reassignment surgery is carried out. Often, she pointed out, people involved lean towards declaring intersex babies as girls, as the necessary surgery was less complex.

But this situation was very problematic, she insisted, as one could not predict what the children concerned would feel as they grow up before submitting them to this life-changing surgery.

“Often the trauma does not end with surgery, but often begins with it,” Dr Schembri insisted.

The MP said that this issue should be looked into as efforts to safeguard the rights of LGBTI people were underway.

She did not specify any particular measures, but a recent example of a possible course of action can be seen in Germany, which has recently allowed intersex babies to be registered as neither male nor female. This law was itself implemented following a review of such cases, which revealed instances where surgery had serious negative repercussions.

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