The American Medical Association is considering a proposal discouraging it. "But there is no evidence that surgery delivers on the promise of making that easier." One of multiple reasons for the concern: Some intersex children may undergo surgery aimed at assigning them as male or female, yet grow up to identify as the other sex — a potentially traumatic situation.
Intersex is an umbrella term encompassing various conditions in which internal sex organs and external genitalia develop differently than for a typical boy or girl.
Eventually, a reproductive oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital told her parents that their daughter's uterus and ovaries were only partially formed — and would likely soon become cancerous.
The doctors pushed them to consent to a surgery to remove them, essentially a hysterectomy.
But now the practice is under assault, as never before. "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.
She spent her 16th birthday that summer recuperating from the operation, but other scars wouldn't heal."On some level, I knew I was not being told the whole truth," Kimberly says. I was the kid who did what I was told, who wanted to please adults and doctors.
I sensed something awful was being hidden from me, and I didn't know who I could trust."It wasn't until 26 years later that she learned the truth: She was intersex.
While her friends were shopping for cute bras and debating tampons versus pads, Kimberly Zieselman had yet to start her period.
So at 15 years old, her parents insisted on taking her to the doctor.