Biden administration denounces forced genital surgeries on Intersex Awareness Day

Joe Biden, whose administration denounced forced surgery for intersex children

On Intersex Awareness Day (26 October), the Biden administration has denounced forced genital surgeries for intersex people.

Intersex Awareness Day aims to highlight the human rights issues faced by intersex people around the world.

On Tuesday, the US Department of State tweeted: “Today on Intersex Awareness Day, we recognise the voices of intersex people around the world.

“Here at the Department, we are committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of intersex persons.”

The tweet also linked to the State Department’s international communications site Share America, which explains: “Nearly one in every 2,000 people is born with variations in reproductive or sexual anatomy, or has a chromosome pattern that doesn’t fit with what is typically considered male or female… Intersex people are struggling in many places for recognition, equality and their human rights.”

The page also recognises the issue of forced genital surgery for intersex children.

It adds: “Because intersex people are born with unique biological characteristics, they are different from transgender people, who do not identify with their assigned gender identity.

“Ironically, many intersex people receive unwanted surgeries and hormone treatments that transgender people have to fight for.”

The State Department followed up with another tweet, sharing a quote from Joe Biden during a speech earlier this year.

It read: “Around the globe, including here at home, brave lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) activists are fighting for equal protection under the law, freedom from violence, and recognition of their fundamental human rights.”

Around the globe, intersex people make up the same proportion of the population as redheads

Intersex people have been around for all of human history, but they continue to face stigma and discrimination.

Intersex traits are perfectly natural and far more common than most people realise, making up around 1.7 percent of the world population, a figure roughly equivalent to the number of redheads.

In most cases, being born intersex posing zero risk, and intersex folk can live a happy and healthy life with little or no medical intervention.

But these children have often been forced to undergo unnecessary surgeries, aiming to “fix” them, before they are old enough to consent.

Surgeries include clitoroplasty, vaginoplasty, phalloplasty and gonadectomy, and are frequently performed on intersex babies to this day, despite the community calling for an end to these operations.

Today, a growing number of medical bodies opt not to perform the procedures, but there is still a long way to go.

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