Pressure mounts to curtail surgery on intersex children – Chicago Tribune

Children whose sexual characteristics don’t neatly align with the norm have for decades faced surgery to rearrange their anatomy to resemble that of more typical boys and girls — long before they were old enough to have a say in the decision.

But now the practice is under assault, as never before. The American Medical Association is considering a proposal discouraging it. Three former U.S. surgeons general say it’s unjustified. And on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch and InterACT a group advocating for intersex youth — are releasing a detailed report assailing the practice and urging Congress to ban it.

“The results are often catastrophic,” says the report, asserting that the surgeries “can inflict irreversible physical and psychological harm.”

“The pressure to fit in and live a ‘normal’ life is real,” said Kyle Knight, a Human Rights Watch researcher who wrote the report. “But there is no evidence that surgery delivers on the promise of making that easier.”

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