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GenderPAC applauds trend toward waiting to initiate intersex surgery (13829)

13829Health News2004-09-28

GenderPAC applauds trend toward waiting to initiate intersex surgery

The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition on Friday released a press statement applauding recent shifts in doctors' attitudes away from early treatment of intersex infants with cosmetic surgery. The previous standard of treatment has been to perform early cosmetic surgery on intersex infants to give them more normal-appearing male or female genitalia, but studies and interviews with surgery patients suggest it may be wiser to delay such procedures until the children are older or forgo them altogether.

"Cosmetic genital surgery for intersex infants is another effort to make sure that even our bodies conform perfectly to gender stereotypes," says GenderPAC executive director Riki Wilchins. "We applaud this growing trend of doctors rethinking this surgery and hope this will spare many children unhealthy and invasive procedures."

A recent study by the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics shows that early surgeries often result in pain and lack of sensation and that children raised as one gender may later in life identify as another. As more adults who received such surgery as infants are stepping forward to challenge its effectiveness, medical professionals are increasingly opting to postpone surgery until the child is older and can contribute to the decision, providing families with psychological support instead.

"Everyone's rethinking this," Bruce Buckingham, associate professor of pediatric endocrinology at Stanford University, told The New York Times. "There's no good scientific data, and more and more we're leaning toward waiting."

GenderPAC is a national group that works to end discrimination and violence caused by gender stereotypes by changing public attitudes, educating elected officials, and expanding legal rights. For more information, go online to

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