STOP Intersex Genital Mutilations in Children's Clinics!

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Wednesday 27 May 2015

Intersex Protests + Info: 'D$Dnet' + 'I-D$D 2015' - Belgium, June 7-13

Photo: Peaceful Vigil #2 vs. "4th I-D$D Symposium" Intersex Genital Mutilators, Glasgow 07.06.2013

INFO EVENING: Brussels, Sun 7th 6 p.m. @ Rainbowhouse
9 PEACEFUL VIGILS + OPEN LETTERS: Ghent, Mon 8th - Sat 13th

@ Het Pand + New Zebra + Ghent University + Ghent University Hospital (see below)

STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation!Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookIntersex Genital Mutilations (IGMs), i.e. non-consensual, medically unnecessary, irreversible, cosmetic genital surgeries, and other invasive 'therapies' on children with variations of sex anatomy, have been perpetrated systematically since 1950 all over the 'developed' world.

IGM Practices include clitoris amputation/'reduction', castration, 'masculinising genitoplasty', forced vaginal dilatation, imposition of hormones, human experimentation, forced excessive genital exams, photography, and medical display.

Intersex: No Reckoning, No Reconciliation!IGM Practices cause lifelong serious physical and psychological suffering and trauma, including loss or impairment of sexual sensation, painful scarring, impairment or loss of reproductive capabilities, lifelong dependency of artificial hormones, significantly elevated rates of self-harming behaviour and suicidal tendencies, and lifelong mental suffering and trauma.

For 22 years now, survivors as well as human rights and ethics bodies have denounced IGMs as fundamental human rights violations, and called for legislation to end them.

IGMs @ 'D$Dnet School', '5th I-D$D', and Ghent University + Clinic:

'D$Dnet' is the latest multi-million-Euros perpetrators "research" project without adaequate involvement of intersex persons and their organisations, and openly advocates “multiple surgical interventions [...] for genital reconstruction to a male or female appearance. The gonads are often removed to avoid [alleged] malignant development.” Accordingly, topics at the '1st D$Dnet Training School' include the whole range of IGM pactices, e.g. “Vaginoplasty, Dilation, Urosurgery (male)”, and the 'D$Dnet School' takes place at Ghent University's 'Het Pand' Congress Center.

While the '5th I-D$D Symposium 2015' has to be commended for once more facilitating participation of intersex people in a “parallel session”, and for the very first time to also include a guest lecture on human rights, it still gives a platform to notorious persistent perpetrators, including IGM paediatric endocrinologists, e.g. Olaf Hiort (Lübeck, Germany), Ieuan Hughes (Cambridge, UK), and Christa Flück (Bern, Switzerland), and leading specialised IGM paediatric surgeons, e.g. Alexander Springer (Vienna, Austria), Joao Pippi Salle (Doha, Qatar / Toronto, Canada), and Piet Hoebeke (Ghent, Belgium).

The Ghent University and its Clinic and their IGM specialists are involved in both the 'D$Dnet' and the 'I-DSD' events, and continue to advocate and perpetrate IGM practices – despite the acknowledged fact, that e.g. in medically unnecessary "hypospadias repair" surgeries, often dangerous complications are frequent and inevitable. Typically, the University Clinic's "Multidisciplinary D$D Team" is lead by a paediatric enocrinologist, and paediatric urology surgeons make up the most prominent and biggest discipline represented. Only last year the Ghent University + Clinic hosted an infamous Genital 'Live Surgery' Event.

Help reminding the perpetrators that it is NOT OK to mutilate defenceless children!

• INFO EVENING Brussels:
Sun 07.06.2015 18:00 @ Rainbowhouse

Rue Marché au Charbon, 42, 1000 Brussels
"Intersex Genital Mutilations – and the Struggle to End Them" 
Daniela Truffer and Markus Bauer (StopIGM.org)
Presentation followed by Q&A / Discussion

• 9 PEACEFUL VIGILS + OPEN LETTERS: Ghent, Mon 8th - Sat 13th
    "STOP Intersex Genital Mutilations!"

'1st DSDnet Training School'

Monday 08.06.2015: Het Pand
#1: 12:30-17:30   Het Pand, Onderbergen 1 (near entrance)

Tuesday 09.06.2015: Het Pand + Ghent University
#2: 08:30-11:00   Het Pand, Onderbergen 1 (near entrance)
#3: 11:30-15:00   Ghent University, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33 (near main entrance)

Wednesday 10.06.2015: Het Pand
#4: 08:30-13:30   Het Pand, Onderbergen 1 (near entrance)

'5th I-DSD Symposium'

Thursday 11.06.2015: New Zebra
#5: 08:30-18:00   New Zebra, Zebrastraat 32 (near entrance conference)

Friday 12.06.2015: New Zebra + Ghent University + University Hospital
#6: 08:30-09:30   New Zebra, Zebrastraat 32 (near entrance conference)
#7: 10:00-14:00   Ghent University, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33 (near main entrance)
#8: 15:00-18:00   Ghent University Hospital, Corneel Heymanslaan (near main entrance)

Saturday 13.06.2015: New Zebra
#9: 08:30-14:00 New Zebra, Zebrastraat 32 (near entrance conference)

>>> Open Letter of Concern to '4th I-DSD Symposium 2013' (PDF)
>>> Picture Report: Protests vs. '4th I-DSD Symposium', Glasgow June 7-9 2013
>>> VIDEO of the 'I-DSD' Protests in Glasgow | Excerpt Featured on ABC Nightline 
>>> 'I-DSD': 'Cruel and inhuman' surgeries - Press Release 07.06.2013 

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor's Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM as a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Monday 25 May 2015

Video "Intersexion" (2011): Survivors speak out

[ >>> watch on vimeo ]

NEW: Lowrez 68 minutes version resurfaced on vimeo! The video will probably be taken down again soon, so enjoy while it lasts.

44 min. Video: Intersex Activist Mani Bruce Mitchell (NZ) interviews fellow survivors around the globe, a.o. Bo Laurent a.k.a. Cheryl Chase (USA), Sally Gross (ZA), Michel Reiter (D), Peter Trinkl (USA), Tiger Howard Devore (USA), David Cameron (USA), Suegee Tamar-Mattis (USA), Gina Wilson (AU), Esther Leidolf Morris (USA), Gavan Coleman (IR), Hida Viloria (USA), Caitlin Petrakis Childs (USA), Jen Pagonis (USA), Lynnell Stephani Long (USA), Dani Lee Harris (USA). TV-documentary by Grant Lahood (NZ).

>>> "Intersexion" Homepage      >>> Buy DVD NZ$45.00 + PP 

Monday 18 May 2015

Small Luk is an intersex activist in Hongkong

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook... and fights for a prohibition of unnecessary genital surgeries on intersex children, and that intersex people are not mixed up with transsexuals in the media. Thank you Small Luk for fighting for intersex human rights!

Friday 15 May 2015

IDAHOT* 2015: Let's Talk About Intersex Appropriation ...

Photo: Intersex Protest #1 vs. '4th I-D$D Medical Symposium', Glasgow 07.06.2013

Heidi Walcutt (1997): 'STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation'

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook First the good news: In Germany, after the community in Leipzig already in 2013 started with truly including Intersex by introducing the clever new acronym IDAHIT* as well as adding thematic events doing justice to intersex persons and their struggles, and last but not least by officially adopting the demand for outlawing the still ongoing harmful practice of Intersex Genital Mutilations, in 2014 Halle (Saale) and in 2015 Jena followed suit. Thanks!! Good news also from the Council of Europe (COE) – see below (bottom).

Nonetheless, also in 2015 in many places intersex people are still only seemingly "included" – or even shamelessly appropriated by third party groups! In such cases, Intersex is often "sold" as primarily being an issue of (gender) identity, birth certificates and discrimination, while a the same time Intersex Genital Mutilations, the harm caused, and adequate measures to end them a.s.a.p. are omitted, suppressed, downplayed, belittled, put on the back burner and/or swept under the carpet.

A particularly typical case: The "Focus paper 'The fundamental rights situation of intersex people'" of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA),
>>> Focus paper (PDF)     >>> Press Release FRA 
which was presented at the "IDAHO-Forum 2015" in Montenegro:

  • The only practical legislative proposition therein is – you get 3 guesses – to adapt sex registration laws, i.e. "Gender markers in identity documents and birth registries should therefore be reviewed to [allegedly] better protect intersex people."
  • In contrast, not mentioned at all are the serious and lifelong harm and impairments resulting from IGM practices – and instead of practical and effectice demands to end IGM (like proposed by intersex persons and their organisations, and seconded e.g. by CAT, NEK-CNE, CRC, WHO, UNICEF), once more there is only non-binding, mutilator-friendly wish-wash.

Whose interests and priorities this alleged "Intersex focus paper" (for which intersex persons and their organisations obviously were consulted only in form and not in substance) really represents, is also emphasised by a comparison of which key words appear in it how often (and which ones were omitted):

gender: 42
certificate/certification/registration: 33
discrimination/discriminated/discriminatory: 30
identity: 28
orientation: 9

vs.

surgery: 14
integrity: 8
[intersex] mutilation: 2

harm [done by IGM]: 0
sexual sensitivity/sensation: 0
trauma: 0

redress: 0
statutes of limitation: 0
data collection: 0
monitoring: 0

Bottom line: Intersex Appropriation – Bingo! Once more, survivors of IGM (and intersex children at risk of being submitted to IGM practices) are abused at the "IDAHO Forum 2015" to pursue third party, (gender) identity and civil status politics at their cost – while at the same time, intersex children keep getting mutilated daily – for how much longer?! Yuck!! If those appropriators had their own genitals forcibly cut for a change – their priorities would change pretty fast and thoroughly – wanna bet?!

On the other hand, how such a study can be done well, demonstrates the "Issue Paper 'Human rights and intersex people'" >>> Issue paper PDF  >>> COE Press release, published by the Commissioner on Human Rights of the Council of Europe (COE), authored by Silvan Agius, and presented at the same "IDAHO-Forum 2015". Not only does this paper include virtually all the above missing key words (sole exceptions: "statutes of limitation" and "monitoring"), but generally talks straight, also on IGM practices. Thanks!! (Further deficits of the COE issue paper are how John Money is once more counterfactually portrayed as the "inventor" of IGM practices, while in fact this "honour" belongs to Lawson Wilkins, and, most egregious, how regarding the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), of all things the crucial art. 24 para. 3 ("Harmful practices") went missing, despite having been highlighted also by the Committee in their ground-breaking 2015 recommendations on IGM – pity!)

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor's Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM as a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Monday 4 May 2015

Markus Bauer @ Genital Autonomy 2015: "IGM considered a ‘Harmful Practice’ by UN – Intersex Social Movement Strategies in Action"

Markus on ABC Nightline, filmed during the "I-D$D 2013" Protests  >>> Full "I-D$D" Video

Markus Bauer (Zwischengeschlecht.org/StopIGM.org) is an invited speaker at "Genital Autonomy 2015" in Frankfurt a.M. (Germany), May 6-9. Together with fellow activist Simon Zobel, Markus will represent intersex issues at GA 2015.
Following the annual demonstration in Cologne on the 7th of May to support genital autonomy for all children, there will be a two-day conference in Frankfurt on 8th and 9th May exploring some legal and medical issues relating to the genital cutting of children.
"Genital Autonomy" was established in 1989 as an originally bi-annual international symposium on children’s rights promoting interdisciplinary dialogue about genital cutting practices of male, female, and intersex children. At last year's symposium in Boulder (Colorado) (abstracts, PDF), Markus presented together with fellow activist Hida Viloria (OII). In 2012 (abstracts, PDF), speakers on intersex were Julius Kaggwa (SIPD, Uganda) and Mika Venhola (youtube-interview), and the symposium issued the 2012 "Helsinki Declaration of the Right to Genital Autonomy".

Abstract: 2015: Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM) Considered a ‘Harmful Practice’ by UN –– Intersex Social Movement Strategies in Action

In February 2015, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) considered Intersex Genital Mutilations a “Harmful Practice” – a powerful concept calling not only for legislation aimed at eliminating harmful practices, but also stressing implementation, monitoring, enforcement, and remedies. I’ll discuss this and other recent achievements in the context of the ongoing 20-year-struggle of intersex activists to end IGM, employing social movement strategies including coordinated use of nonviolent action, human rights mechanisms, and lawsuits against perpetrators.

Markus Bauer is the co-founder and campaign organiser of the international human rights NGO Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org, and legally responsible for their online presence. He is the partner of an intersex person, and a decade-long writer, editor, performing artist, political activist, and social organiser. Since 2007, he facilitated countless nonviolent intersex protests in front of mutilators’ clinics and medical congresses, as well as parliamentary motions, submissions and testimonies for ethics and human rights bodies. He has spoken and published internationally on IGM at universities and symposia, and appeared on radio and television, and in newspapers and magazines, including the Wall Street Journal. Zurich, Switzerland.

VIDEO Action vs. 'I-D$D' Genital Mutilators!
3rd I-D$D Symposium, Glasgow 2013
Thanks to Richard Duncker (MenDoComplain)

>>> on Vimeo

VIDEO Action vs. 'ISHID' Live Mutilators!
IV ISHID World Congress, London 2012
Thanks to Richard Duncker (MenDoComplain)
>>> on Youtube

Intersex Genital Mutilations
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy

2014 NGO Report to the UN Committe on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Documents 17 Forms of IGMs and Nazi-Crimes a.o. in CH, D, A
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>>
Table of Contents

Sunday 19 April 2015

UN-CRPD Criticises Intersex Genital Mutilations, Calls for Legal Provisions to Provide Redress to Survivors

Ana Peláez Narváez asks Germany questions on IGM and castrations, Geneva 26.03.2015

'STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation!' - UNHRC Geneva 20.10.2012

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookHip, hip! On occasion of their 13th session, the UN-Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) published Concluding Recommendations on Intersex for the 1st time ever, explicitly criticising Germany for allowing IGM Practices to continue unhindered (>>> DOC --> p. 6–7, paras 37-38), after having questioned the state delegation on this topic in Geneva earlier (see below).

This success is the result of German Intersex Groups and allies participating in the UN human rights mechanism of the initial review of Germany under the Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities (CRPD):

  • Intersexuelle Menschen e.V. participating in the 2013 Collective NGO Report facilitated by CRPD Alliance (>>> PDF --> p. 36–37),
  • plus a  2014 NHRI Report by the German Institute for Human Rights, a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and the official German CRPD Monitoring Body (>>> PDF --> p. 6),

leading to the Committee asking Germany questions on Intersex and IGM Practices in their 2014 List of Issues (LoI) (>>> as reported on this blog), as well as to (evasive) answers by the German Gov (>>> same report --> Update).

Germany's clearly less than satisfactory answers were then criticised again by NGOs and the NHRI for the session

  • in a 34-page 2015 Thematic Intersex NGO Report by Zwischengeschlecht.org/StopIGM.org (>>> PDF | HTML | DOC | DOCX),
  • in a 2015 Collective NGO Follow-Up Report facilitated by CRPD Alliance, again with participation of Intersexuelle Menschen e.V. (>>> DOC --> p. 10–11),
  • and in a 2015 NHRI Follow-Up Report by the German Institute for Human Rights (>>> PDF --> p. 15).

In addition, there was a Intersex Side Event in Geneva prior to the session, with participation of Zwischengeschlecht.org/Stop IGM.org, OII Germany and OII Australia, co-facilitated by GATE. Zwischengeschlecht.org and OII Germany also contributed short statements during the NGO briefing on Germany just before the session, with Daniela Truffer (Zwischengeschlecht.org) once more being the only survivor of IGM giving firsthand testimony on the consequences of IGM practices, as well as providing practical, referenced examples of past and present examples of IGM and other gross human rights violations of intersex people in Germany.

Diane Kinston mentions intersex in her opening statement on Germany, Geneva 26.03.2015

During the 13th CRPD Session, on 26 March 2015, intersex was mentioned by CRPD Country Rapporteur for Germany Diane Kingston in her introduction; and CRPD member Ana Peláez Narváez asked the German State Party explicit questions regarding genital mutilations and castrations of intersex children, also referring to the review of Germany under CEDAW during their 43th session in 2009 (the first time ever that intersex NGOs particpated in a human rights mechanism, and also the very first time a UN Committee criticised a country regarding human rights violations of intersex people in Concluding Observations).

In their reply, the State Party once again longwindedly claimed everything would be different now, and in fact intersex people would rather the committee would't get active, and therefore legislation wouldn't be necessary, preferring an "individualised" medical approach (as called for by IGM doctors, too). As per usual, videos of the whole session are available online via treatybodywebcast.org >>> english audio + sign language | german audio + video of speakers.

Fortunately, the Committee didn't allow the state party to pull the wool over their eyes. Instead, in their Concluding Observations (>>> DOC --> p. 6–7, paras 37-38), for the first time CRPD explicitly criticised IGM Practices as well as the lack of legal provisions for access to redress for survivors, referring to the UN Committee against Torture (CAT)'s 2011 recommendations for Germany.

As reported on this blog, the binding 2011 CAT recommendations for Germany (CAT/C/DEU/CO/5 >>> PDF, p. 6–7, para 20) referred to by CRPD include a call for the state party to:

"Undertake investigation of incidents of surgical and other medical treatment of  intersex people without effective consent and adopt legal provisions in order to provide redress to the victims of such treatment, including adequate compensation".

The following are the binding 2015 recommendations for Germany regarding intersex by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
(CRPD/C/DEU/CO/1 >>> DOC --> p. 6–7, paras 37-38)

Protecting the integrity of the person (art. 17)

37. The Committee is concerned about: [...] c) the lack of implementation of the 2011 recommendations CAT/C/DEU/CO/5, para. 20, regarding upholding bodily integrity of intersex children.

38. The Committee recommends that the State party take the necessary measures, including of a legislative nature to: 

[...]

(d) Implement all the recommendations of CAT/C/DEU/CO/5, para. 20 relevant to intersex children.

On behalf of our German constituency and supporters, Zwischengeschlecht.org/StopIGM.org warmly thanks the Committe for these recommendations! While many had hoped for additional recommendations also on the topic of lack of data collection and monitoring, especially considering the German gov's long history of empty promisies and ongoing refusal to do so, as well as on the current denial of needed healt care for persons with CAH with salt loss, these recommendation is an important first step and will greatly help increasing the pressure on German perpetrators of IGM practices and IGM-friendly politicians.

'Human Rights For Hermaphrodites, Too!' - 2015 CRPD NGO Report

Intersex Genital Mutilations: 2015 CRPD NGO Report
Documents ongoing Human Rights Violations in Germany under CRPD
 What is Intersex? • How Common are IGM-Practices?
 No Law to Prevent IGM  No Data Collection & Statistics
 No Access to Justice & Redress  Denial of Needed Health Care
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)    >>> HTML    >>> DOC | DOCX

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Intersex Genital Mutilations: 2015 CRPD Intersex NGO Report online

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookThe UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilites (CRPD) will examine Germany March 26-27 in Geneva – and IGM practices will be in the focus!

The thematic NGO report by Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org sheds light on the decade-long refusal of the German Government to protect intersex children and adults from IGM practices, to collect data and statistics on related human rights violations, to ensure access to justice and redress for survivors, and to ensure availability of appropriate medication for intersex adults with the salt-losing form of CAH. Version 2.0 PDF with improved accessability.

>>> Download as PDF    >>> HTML     >>> DOC     >>> DOCX

Sunday 8 March 2015

"Compounding the Harm of IGM" - Ellen Feder says it as it is

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook Intersex: No Reckoning, No Reconciliation!>>> Excellent post by Ellen Feder on the typical (non-)reaction of the IGM surgeon Terry Hensle when confronted by survivor Saifa Wall in a ground-breaking segment of "Nightline", laying bare the continuation of abuse due to the ongoing lack of willlingness of  the perpetrators to engage in reconciliation: 

[I]n refusing to recognize his responsibility to repair the harm he has caused, Hensle commits another harm. As Margaret Walker has argued in her book, Moral Repair, to turn away from the task of repair, “is not only not to do something, it is to do wrong once again”:

Failures to repair wrongs are additional wrongs that create additional obligations to repair the failures. Where wrongs persist unrepaired repeatedly, in an extended series of refusals or failures to repair, the lack of reparative effort on the part of those responsible for repair accrues layers of disregard, indifference, disrespect, contempt, belittlement, or intended careless humiliation.

Thanks, Ellen Feder and Saifa Wall!

Friday 27 February 2015

Nuremberg: "Intersex person sues clinic for unncessary surgery" - The Local, 27.02.2015

Michaela "Micha" Raab in front of Nuremberg court with solidarity rally, 26.02.2015 (dpa/FAZ)
Placards (left to right): "We demand: Comprehensive information against manipulation!" (Katrin Ann Kunze †
during 1st ever intersex lawsuit, Cologne 12.12.2007); "STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation" (Heidi Walcutt †
during intersex rally, NYC 1997); "No reckoning, no reconciliation."

Intersex person Michaela Raab is suing doctors [and the Erlangen University Clinic] in a Nuremberg court, who she said operated on her genitals and put her through female hormone therapy without having told her she was genetically a man.

In 1995, Raab consulted doctors at the University Hospital Erlangen in Southern Germany, wondering why she had never had her period or had her breasts grow by the age of 20.

Doctors put her on female hormone therapy, and she went through an operation to reduce what they told her was an oversized clitoris.

Years later, Raab would discover she had XY chromosomes – making her genetically male - and that her doctors had never let her know.

She said if she had known, she may have decided against the doctors' treatment strategy.

>>> Read full article at TheLocal.de 
>>> Nuremberg, 26.02.2015: Peaceful Intersex Solidarity Rally for Michaela "Micha" Raab

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Sunday 15 February 2015

Nuremberg, 26.02.2015: Peaceful Intersex Solidarity Protest for Michaela "Micha" Raab - Trial vs. IGM Surgeon + University Clinic!

Photo: Cologne, 12.12.2007 – World's first litigation vs. Intersex Genital Mutilator
100'000 € damages for Christiane Völling (3rd from right)!  (Photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation!Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookPeaceful Intersex Solidarity Rally at Nuremberg Court
• Thur 26.02.2015 12:30–13:20h (near Main Entrance)

• 13:30h Trial vs. Prof. S. + Erlangen University Clinic because of non-consensual "Clitoral Reduction" and Castration.

Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM) are a fundamental human rights violation – see you where the action is!

On Thursday, 26 February 2015 the Nuremberg Court – yes, the Nuremberg Court! – will witness a piece of Intersex History, when the case of Michaela "Micha" Raab vs. her former surgeon and his University Clinic will finally kick off after years of stalling and back and forth.

Micha is only the second survivor of IGM worldwide to succeed in suing her mutilator, and the first in Germany to succeed in suing also the University Clinic facilitating the deed; and her case is only the third case reaching a court at all (after Christiane Völling and the still ongoing #justice4MC case) – a stark testament to the factual impunity of IGM doctors, clinics and other responsible bodies and persons, which has been criticised by survivors, the Swiss Ethics Commission (NEK-CNE) and several UN Bodies, including the Committee against Torture (CAT), already in 2011 explicitly calling on Germany to "Undertake investigation of incidents of surgical and other medical treatment of intersex people without effective consent and adopt legal provisions in order to provide redress to the victims of such treatment, including adequate compensation" (see CRC NGO Report, PDF, p. 28-29).

How much longer?!  Enough with mutilating intersex people with impunity!!!

>>> 2015: UNCRC: Intersex Genital Mutilations = "Harmful Practice" + "Violence"!

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Saturday 14 February 2015

The Racist Roots of Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM)

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook Intersex: No Reckoning, No Reconciliation!

"Buffon [1777] and De Pauw [1768] believed the rise of hermaphrodites was a natural occurrence resulting from excessive heat in climatic conditions and so they maintained that the hermaphrodite was a problem localized to warmer climates – specifically Africa and Asia. […] De Pauw insistently repeated his belief that hermaphrodites represented another type of human—though not so much as to define a variety or race—which was a monster. Possessing both male and female genitalia marked the hermaphrodite’s inferiority to other normal humans. This [variation], to De Pauw, was enough to make them a different degree of human […]. Their physical condition indicated their inferior nature and status as a bastardized group of people."
- Dana Aliza Levy: "Conceptions and Perceptions of Human Difference: Albinos and Hermaphrodites in the Enlightenment" (2012)

Every year, hundreds or even thousands of academic papers are written that employ "Intersexuals" or "Hermaphrodites" as a mere means to validate or advance gender theory – or, as Emi Koyama and Lisa Weasel (PDF p. 2-9) put it in 2002, where "intersex existence is understood and presented largely as a scholarly object to be studied in order to deconstruct the notion of binary sexes (and thus sexism and homophobia) rather than a subject that has real-world implications for real people [...], potentially unintentionally perpetrating the invisibili[ty] and objectification of intersex." On the other hand, hardly anything gets published on the human rights implications of intersex history, and even less so on the racist, eugenics and nazi implications of past and current classifications and "medical treatment" of intersex people not only in Germany during the "Third Reich", but all over the "developed world" starting with the "Age of Enlightenment" (for some sources, see 2014 CRC NGO Report, PDF p. 49, 52-53, 69, 84).

The more welcome is Dana Aliza Levy's exceptional recent bachelor thesis, shedding a light on formative notions of intersex going back to the 18th century which in turn gave rise to the openly racist, eugenics and indeed nazi implications of "intersex as a subhuman deformity that needs to be exterminated, 'rectified' or 'cured'", which were rife during the first half of the 20th century, and continue to inform the "medical treatment" (including selective (late term) abortion) of intersex persons allover the "developed world" to this very day.
More relevant excerpts and fulltext link after the break:

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM on a Global Scale: 2015 Briefing for UN-CRC
• IGM: A Survivor's Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are IGM Practices? • What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?
• IGM and Human Rights • Conclusion: IGM as a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Continue reading...

Wednesday 11 February 2015

"May your hand rot off, which you used to mutilate defenceless children!"

Kinderspital Zürich - Universitäts-Kinderklinik "Human Rights for Hermaphrodites too!" - Zurich, July 6, 2008 (Photo: Ärger)

From a speech by Daniela "Nella" Truffer to future doctors:

At two and a half months, they castrated me, threw my healthy testicles into the dust bin. The doctors decided, I should grow up as a girl, my parents were instructed accordingly. At seven, they shortened my ambiguous genital. After the surgery I went into shock, developed multiple haematoma and necrotic tissue. Pain and scars remained. That I could have died during these surgeries because of a serious heart condition, was of no interest to the doctors. At eighteen, a vagina was tinkered, where there was nothing before.

Personally, I don't want to resort to an eye for an eye, though I admit to having thought about it, and I don't want to have to be imprisoned even more on behalf of my castrators and genital mutilators.

So the only thing left for me is finding other ways of standing up for hermaphrodite children, so that at least they may live in the future. To be a voice for your future patients, to convince you, that cosmetic genital surgeries and other medically not necessary interventions violate human rights and must stop.

To all those among you, who in spite still choose pursuing a career as genital mutilators, to you I wish with all my heart, may a horde of crazed hermaphrodites find you, who will direct their anger not at themselves, but against you. May they turn your lives into hell with lawsuits for grievous bodily harm, may they ruin your reputation and plunder your bank accounts! And to those, who even then still don't have enough, may your hand rot off, which you used to mutilate defenceless children! And perhaps, one day even a hermaphrodite will come to you with a pair of hedge shears, and will teach you what it feels like having to scrape a living with scarred genitals! And the same also to all of you, who, though you don't perpetrate the mutilations by yourselves, still participate or look the other way.

However, to all those among you, who will abide by "first do no harm", and one day will enter the medical profession in the name of humanity, to you, even more with all my heart, I wish you all the best for your future.

>>> Full Text: "May your hand rot off, which you used to mutilate defenceless children!" 

Thursday 5 February 2015

"Harmful Practice" and "Violence": UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Prohibits Non-Consensual Genital Surgeries on Intersex Children

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookPress Release by StopIGM.org, 05.02.2015:

Heidi Walcutt (1997): 'STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation'

Zwischengeschlecht.org warmly welcomes the historic 2015 "Concluding Observations" of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) for Switzerland.
>>> CRC/C/CHE/CO/2-4, DOC, on Intersex: p. 8-9, paras. 42-43

Not only do they mark the first time the Committee tackled intersex and IGM practices, but indeed the first time any human rights body recognisied non-consensual, medically unnecessary, irreversible, cosmetic genital surgeries and other procedures on intersex children as a "harmful practice".

We especially appreciate the Committee specifically addressing the "lack of redress and compensation" for survivors, as well as referencing both the recommendations by the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics (underlining the need for legal revision including liability, criminal law and statutes of limitation) and the CRC-CEDAW Joint Geneneral Comment No. 18 on harmful practices (highlighting the necessity of developing a holistic policy).

The fight of intersex people and their organsiations for "bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination" and to eliminate IGM practices is far from over. The CRC's Concluding Observations however mark an important and most welcome step towards these goals – a sign of hope for intersex children everywhere!

>>> 21.01.2015: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child criticises IGM Practices 
>>> Transcript: Intersex Q&A during the 68. Session of CRC, Geneva 2015
>>> 2014 CRC NGO Report "Intersex Genital Mutilations" (PDF 3.65 MB)
>>>
2015 CRC Briefing "Intersex Genital Mutilations on a Global Scale" (PDF 3.14 MB)

The Concluding Observations on intersex and IGM practices (p. 8-9, paras. 42-43):

E.    Violence against children
(arts. 19, 24, para. 3, 28, para. 2, 34, 37 (a) and 39)

[…]

Harmful practices 

42.    While welcoming the adoption of a new provision of criminal law prohibiting genital mutilation, the Committee is deeply concerned at:

[…]

(b)    Cases of medically unnecessary surgical and other procedures on intersex children, which often entail irreversible consequences and can cause severe physical and psychological suffering, without their informed consent, and the lack of redress and compensation in such cases.

43.    The Committee draws the attention of the State party to the Joint General Comment No. 18 on harmful practices (2014), together with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and urges the State party to:

[…]

(b)    In line with the recommendations on ethical issues relating to intersexuality by the National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics, ensure that no-one is subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood, guarantee bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination to children concerned, and provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support.


The international human rights NGO StopIGM.org demands the prohibition of forced genital surgeries on children and adolescents with 'atypical' sex anatomy and "Human Rights for Hermaphrodites too!"

Persons concerned shall later decide themselves, if they want surgeries or not, and if yes, which.

Kind regards

Daniela "Nella" Truffer, Markus Bauer
Founding members human rights NGO Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org

Mobile +41 (0) 76 398 06 50
Mobile +41 (0) 78 829 12 60

presse_at_zwischengeschlecht.info

http://StopIGM.org

IGM on a Global Scale: 2015 Briefing for UN-CRC
• IGM: A Survivor's Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are IGM Practices? • What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?
• IGM and Human Rights • Conclusion: IGM as a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Wednesday 4 February 2015

"Geneva: UN-Committee Criticises Genital Surgery on Intersex Children as 'Harmful Practice' - Written Recommendations due Tomorrow"

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookPress Release by StopIGM.org, 03.02.2015:

'STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation!' - UNHRC Geneva 20.10.2012

The 68th CRC session marked the first time ever the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child tackled intersex and IGM practices. In a ground-breaking move the chair grilled the Swiss Government, labeling non-consensual intersex surgery "an issue of physical integrity", "a kind of violence to children", and "a harmful practice".

This first is the result of the ongoing hard work by intersex NGOs and their allies, engaging in the CRC Human Rights Mechanism and filing no less than 4 NGO reports all explicitly criticising IGM practices, resulting in an invitation for a briefing of the Committee on "Intersex Genital Mutilations on a Global Scale" just before the start of the review of Switzerland.

For 22 years, intersex people have been fighting surgical "genital corrections" on children with variations of sex anatomy, which they criticise as Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM). For 16 years, they have invoked the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since 2008 survivors engage with the United Nations human rights mechanisms, and since 2012 with the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Now, 13 UN bodies as well as the Council of Europe are criticising non-consensual genital surgery and other medically unnecessary interventions on intersex children (CEDAW, CAT, SRH, SRT, WHO, OHCHR, UNICEF, UN Women, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, CRPD, CRC, COE). To this day, Columbia is still the only country worldwide to at least partly restrict IGM practices.

In 2012, the Opinion of the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics (NEK-CNE) was welcomed by intersex organisations around the world – however, to this day the Swiss Federal Government refuses to implement its recommendations.

The replies by the state party to the CRC Chair's questions were clearly less than satisfactory, a sentiment also expressed by the chair in her closing remarks (>>> Transcript).

Undeviatingly, a spokesperson of the Swiss Federal Office for Justice portrayed "mental risks [...] for example in the case of problems with their enrolment in school" as a reasonable justification for cosmetic genital surgery on intersex children – contrary to the recommendations of the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics explicitly criticising unnecessary genital surgery justified by "psychosocial indications" (!!!). Undeviatingly, Switzerland's reply focused on "child registration", "gender", "assigned sex", "experienced identity" and so on – while dismissing the right to physical integrity highlighted by the chair – culminating in the stick-in-the-mud claim, IGM practices would only be actually wrong if coinciding with a "wrongly assigned sex".

While in a surprising U-turn Switzerland announced efforts to collect data on intersex surgeries, it soon became obvious so far this was once more done without consultation of intersex organisations, as they learned for the first time of these endeavours during the CRC session in Geneva.

Intersex persons and their organisations are therefore hoping for strong written Concluding Observations for Switzerland by the Committee, due tomorrow Wednesday – and for a holistic general policy to eliminate all IGM practices everywhere.

>>> 2014 CRC NGO Report "Intersex Genital Mutilations" (PDF 3.65 MB)
>>>
2015 CRC Briefing "Intersex Genital Mutilations on a Global Scale" (PDF 3.14 MB)
>>>
Transcript: Intersex Q&A during the 68. Session of CRC, Geneva 2015

The international human rights NGO StopIGM.org demands the prohibition of forced genital surgeries on children and adolescents with 'atypical' sex anatomy and "Human Rights for Hermaphrodites too!"

Persons concerned shall later decide themselves, if they want surgeries or not, and if yes, which.

Kind regards

Daniela "Nella" Truffer, Markus Bauer
Founding members human rights NGO Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org

Mobile +41 (0) 76 398 06 50
Mobile +41 (0) 78 829 12 60

presse_at_zwischengeschlecht.info

http://StopIGM.org

IGM on a Global Scale: 2015 Briefing for UN-CRC
• IGM: A Survivor's Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are IGM Practices? • What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?
• IGM and Human Rights • Conclusion: IGM as a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

UPDATE 04.02.0215: The Concluding Observations (--> paras. 42-43) are here!!!
"[M]edically unnecessary surgical and other procedures on intersex children" are explicitly mentioned in section "E.  Violence against children", subsection "Harmful practices". The Committee, referring to the 2012 recommendations of the Swiss Ethics Commission (NEK-CNE), explicitly "urge[s]" Switzerland to "ensure that no-one is subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood, guarantee bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination to children concerned, and provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support"! THANK YOU!!!

Monday 2 February 2015

Transcript: Intersex Q&A during the 68th Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Geneva 21.-22.01.2015

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook >>> Comment on the Q&A: Press Release by StopIGM.org, 03.02.2015

Transcript by Nella of the entire 68th CRC Intersex Q&A, Geneva 21.-22.01.2015:

Kirsten Sandberg, Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (pictured center): (Video Segment 1, 1:00:32–1:02:23; original English, afternoon session 21.01.2015) "[Thank you. Is there any other member who'd like the floor now? …] Thank you. As I cannot see any other hands, I have a question myself on intersex children.

They were mentioned by Mr Madi [CRC co-rapporteur on Switzerland, in the List of Issues (LoI)] under discrimination, but I would also like to raise it as an issue of physical integrity or kind of violence to children or a harmful practice, because it's seems that actually in most countries in the world children that are born with an unclear sexual - what do you call it - well, where the genitals of the child are unclear and they may develop this way or that way or they may stay unclear.

There is surgery done to the child at an early stage without proper information given to the parents, and also without the child him- or herself, of course at such an early stage, when you are a baby, being able to have a say in this matter, and also, the child, things are happening also later on, with new surgery, before the child is old enough to have a view on this or able to consent for that matter.

So I wonder, I guess you are aware of this practice, and I wonder if you are considering, or maybe considering to prohibit it actually, to not have it done without a proper consent, which is really an informed consent, and if possible by the child or then perhaps an adult, him- or herself. Exactly how to regulate it might be something that has to be discussed, but anyway the practice as it goes on today does not seem to be one which is in the best interest of these children. So I would like some comments on this."

Ambassador Stephan Cueni, Head of the Swiss Delegation, Federal Social Insurance Office (pictured 3rd from right): (Video Segment 4, 53:18–53:38, simultaneous translation from French; afternoon session 22.01.2015) "I think we're now coming to the last question of the first round and it's the question of the chairperson, it's on intersex children, and I would like to ask our colleague, Miss Gianinazzi, to answer that question. Debora Gianinazzi of the Federal Justice Office."

Debora Gianinazzi, Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police, Private Law Division: (Video Segment 4, 53:40–57:48, simultaneous translation from French, afternoon session 22.01.2015) "Thank you. Indeed aesthetic surgery, genital surgery performed on minors has led to sharp criticisms in Switzerland as well, because this operations are irreversible, and can cause heavy damage to the person, especially if the assigned sex then is not in keeping with the identity experienced by the person him- or herself.

In response to a parliamentary initiative in 2011 the government presented the opinion, according to which these operations designed to assign or change a sex should only be performed in case of imperative medical reasons, for example a very high risk of cancer or mental risks for small children, for example in the case of problems with their enrolment in school, so with their experience in school. So beyond imperative medical grounds infants and young children should never be subjected to operations, unless there is a ward of doctors with the approval of the parents who decide.

So the government asked the National Ethics Commission in the area of Human Health to take up a position on this issue, and this commission indeed handed out an opinion in November 2012, and rallied to the government's position on this topic.

The commission also made recommendations to the medical corps on medical ethics on a campaign and the rights of the families in this area.

As to child registration we remain in the situation where in Switzerland, when a child is born, the child is registered in the civil register with a gender male or female, but the Commission has requested the Government to ensure that, at a later stage, the gender in the birth certificate can be amended without too many bureaucratic obstacles from the cantonal level of the civil registry.

Following this recommendation the federal authorities issued a recommendation to the cantonal civil registries to this effect, and the point of this was to raise the awareness of all officials in the civil registries and to inform them about the recommendations on the gender, and to incite them to be very careful, when recording gender and names as well. If possible a procedure for the amendment to the registry of the gender on the birth certificate should also be provided for as well as in the civil registry. So that is the current situation in Switzerland.

No, I am sorry, I actually could add something. I could clarify that in general terms the government wishes to collect information on surgery on intersex grounds. For the time being we have no clear data, the Federal Office for Statistics and the Federal Office for Public Health are now working together to develop a design for the collection of data, and the information on such surgery will allow us to gain a better appraisal of the situation."

Kirsten Sandberg, Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: (Video Segment 4, 57:49–59:14; afternoon session 22.01.2015) "Thank you, this is interesting to hear. I just wonder, I didn't quite catch what you said you had done with the recommendations of the National Ethical Commission. I think some of them were passed on to the medical corps, whatever the medical people, but I think the problem of this, what you started off by saying, is that, if you require, if you have the possibility of doing this, when there are imperative medical reasons.

The doctors, who might have an interest in continuing with this, would very often find those imperative medical reasons, and you mentioned cancer or medical risks [Gianinazzi actually said "mental risks"], and we know from the information we have that this has been allegedly the case with parents who have been persuaded by doctors to have the surgery performed at an early stage.

So it doesn't really seem strong enough, the reaction. But then I think your information on collecting more information on this is really interesting, because from the information we have nothing has changed since 2012. There is still a lot going on in the same way as before. But thank you very much for the information."  

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook >>> Comment on the Q&A: Press Release by StopIGM.org, 03.02.2015

IGM on a Global Scale: 2015 Briefing for UN-CRC
• IGM: A Survivor's Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are IGM Practices? • What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?
• IGM and Human Rights • Conclusion: IGM as a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Friday 30 January 2015

"Intersex Genital Mutilations on a Global Scale": Briefing for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Geneva 21.01.2015

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook >>> CRC-Briefing: Referenced PDF (3.14 MB)

The aim of the briefing was to argue the case for recognising IGMs as a harmful practice and to promote the development of a holistic framework to eliminate all IGM practices. For the first goal we can claim a success so far with the Q&A on Intersex during the Committee's 68th session initiated by the CRC chair, criticising early intersex surgeries as a "harmful practice" and urging Switzerland to discuss legislation. 

The web version of the briefing (>>> PDF 3.14 MB) includes references and annotation.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • IGM: A Survivor's Perspective
  • Intersex Movement History
  • Intersex is NOT THE SAME as LGBT
  • What are IGM Practices?
  • Variations of Sex Anatomy
  • IGM 1 - "Masculinising" Surgeries
  • IGM 2 - "Feminising" Surgeries
  • IGM 3 - Sterilising Procedures
  • Overview: Further IGM Practices
  • How Common is IGM?
  • Countries with Less Access to Paediatric Surgery
  • IGM: Historical Overview
  • IGM: Human Rights Perspectives
  • Conclusion: IGM as a Harmful Practice

The call for the development of a holistic policy to eliminate all IGM practices (see slide 61)

>>> Reporting live from the 68th CRC Session in Geneva, 20–21 January 2015

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Thursday 29 January 2015

Geneva > Chair of UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Criticises Early Intersex Surgery Criticised as "Harmful Practice", Calls for Legislation | IGM-Briefing + Session Videos + Transcript

>>> CRC-Briefing "IGMs On A Global Scale": Referenced PDF (3.19 MB)
>>> Transcript entire Intersex Q&A   >>> All Videos CRC 68th Session Switzerland

Kirsten Sandberg (center) chairing the session, on the right: Swiss Gov Representatives

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

StopIGM.org reporting live from the 68th Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) at Palais Wilson in Geneva:

STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation!The periodic review of Switzerland regarding the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 21–22 January 2014 marked the first time that the Committe touched upon the topic of IGM practices. After having received two more NGO reports broaching the issue in the wake of Switzerland's replies to the Committe's List of Issues (LoI), one by Child Rights Netwok Switzerland as well as another thematic report by Zwischengeschlecht.org (endorsed by Swiss Self-Help Groups Intersex.ch and SI Intersexualität, and Women's Rights NGO Terre des Femmes Switzerland), the Committe had issued a rare invitation to Zwischengeschlecht.org for a one hour Briefing on "Intersex Genital Mutilations on a Global Scale"  (>>> PDF 3.19 MB), which was also attended by representatives of the Committe on the Rights of People with Disabilites (CRPD) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR).

The briefing offered an overview on IGM practices and their histoy as well as a survivor's perspective and an introduction to 22 years of Intersex Activism, arguing the case for recognising IGMs as a harmful practice and developing a holistic framework to eliminate all relevant non-consensual unnecessary interventions. (>>> PDF 3.19 MB) Taking place in the same conference room just before the start of the review of Switzerland, the briefing went rather well and attracted many productive questions.

What's more, during the following review, at the very end of the first round of questions, the chair of the Committee, Kirsten Sandberg broached the topic, criticising early intersex surgery as a "harmful practice", and asked if Switzerland was aware of the ongoing non-consensual interventions which obviously were "not in the best interest of the children concerned", and if the state party was willing to initiate discussions about legislation to stop them?

Replying for the state party the next day, Debora Gianinazzi of the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police (Private Law Division) from our perspective talked much but said little. Also the usual tendency of reducing the serious human rights implications of IGMs to gender-related aspects (while ignoring e.g. bodily integrity) was showing, for example when she claimed intersex surgery had lead to stark criticism "especially" when the "wrong gender" was assigned.

Nonetheless, the state party also made some quite remarkable announcements, for example that the Swiss Government would have taken the position of only allowing medically necessary surgeries first, with the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics (NEK-CNE) in their groundbreaking 2012 recommendations merely having rallied to the Gov's position after the fact. Furthermore, on the order of the Gov, the Federal Office of Statistics and the Federal Office of Public Health would already collaborate to facilitate data collection (though obviously without consultation of intersex organsiations). When last commenting on data collection, the Gov repeatedly claimed it was impossible and "not advisable" to collect such data (as referenced in our 2014 CRC NGO Report, p. 46).

However, on the main topics of actively discussing legislation or even taking practical steps to prevent further unnecessary surgeries, as well as regarding the implementation of the recommendations of the NEK-CNE, the silence was deafening.

Fortunately, this concern was also voiced in a concluding remark by chair Kirsten Sandberg, noting the reaction of the Gov so far would not seem strong enough considering the ongoing surgeries.

So we're hopeful the Committe will issue strong Concluding Observations (due to be published on 4 February)!

Update 29.01.2015: The videos of the entire review (including the Q&A on IGMs) have now been made available online by ChildRightsConnect (Thanks!).
Update 31.01.2015: A transcript of the entire intersex Q&A is now available!
Update 03.02.2015: Intersex and the UN – Why is the CRC Intersex Q&A so important?
Update 04.02.215: "Harmful Practice" + "Violence against Children": Historic CRC Statement

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Friday 14 November 2014

Intersex Genital Mutilations: "An assault on children too young to consent" - From "Hypospadias Cripple" to "Failed Hypospadias"

>>> "Failed Hypospadias Repair" (PDF) [TRIGGER WARNING!!!] Revealing medical presentation about a "growing industry", catering to survivors of childhood cosmetic genital surgeries then hailed as "triumphs" by feckless pedo-surgeons, but later "breaking down" as "natural evolution over time of hypospadias repair", causing loss of sensation, lifelong pain and trouble.

>>> Hypospadias surgery: "an assault on children too young to give consent" (MailOnline 11.11.14) – Big kudos to the survivors speaking out bravely – and to MailOnline for bringing this up! However, beware of stigmatising language in the article – still a far cry, Mail! Also, will the "monitoring" announced by doctors really be anything more than just another cop-out for even more medically unnecessary, non-consensual "surgical repair"?

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Intersex Solidarity Day 2014 - Vigils + Open Letter, Leipzig 08.11.2014

Peaceful Protest #3 vs. Intersex/D$D Guidelines + "Ja-Ped 2014" , Leipzig 08.11.2014

Thank you to all the 225 people and organisations who signed the Open Letter! Special thanks to everybody who forwarded/shared the call to sign – without you this impressive number would not have been possible! More photos from the peaceful rallies after the break:

Continue reading...

Monday 3 November 2014

Intersex Protests + Open Letter: Leipzig 7.-8.11. | Jena 9.11.2014

>>> Open Letter re: Intersex Guidelines (PDF, German)   >>> more Info

Peaceful Protest + Open Letter vs. "Ja-Ped 2011", Berlin 11.11.2011   >>> more photos

STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation!Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookThis week, Leipzig University (Germany) will host the intersex mutilators' congress "Ja-Ped 2014" which includes the annual meeting of the "German Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology (DGKED)".

Participating clinicians are not only the driving force behind the daily IGMs in German speaking children's clinics, but also behind the current "improvement for the worse" of the mutilator's AWMF guidelines "174/001 Disorders of Sex Development", "015/052 Female Genital Malformations", "027/019 Prenatal Therapy of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia due to 21-Hydroxylase Deficiency", "006/026 Hypospadias" and in 2015 "027/047 Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia".

Same goes for the Paediatric Surgery Jena at the University Clinic Jena-Lobeda.

StopIGM.org will facilitate 4 Peaceful Protests in Leipzig and Jena (>>> all the Dates), as well as an Open Letter to all medical societies participating in above listed guideline reviews (more here!).

Help reminding the perpetrators that it is NOT OK to mutilate defenceless children!

>>> Open Letter re: Intersex Guidelines (PDF, German)   >>> more Info

IGM Global, Inc – Why we are targeting Paediatric Endocrinologists
Paedo Endos: Preaching CAIS Castrations and Supposedly 'High Cancer Risk'

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

See also:
Open Letter of Concern to '53rd ESPE' Dublin 2014
Open Letter of Concern to '4th WOFAPS' Berlin 2013
Open Letter of Concern to '9th Joint Meeting' (ESPE/LWPES) Milano 2013
Open Letter of Concern to '4th I-DSD Symposium' Glasgow 2013
Open Letter of Concern to '51st Annual Meeting of ESPE' Leipzig 2012
Open Letter of Concern to '23rd ESPU' Zurich 2012
Open Letter of Concern to 'ISHID' Live Genital Mutilators London 2011

Open Letter of Concern to '3rd EuroDSD Symposium' Lübeck 2011
Open Letter of Concern to '11th EMBL/EMBO Conference' Heidelberg 2010

Saturday 1 November 2014

Selective Intersex Abortions: Hypospadias 2%, Indeterminate Sex 47%, XXY 74%

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook Intersex: No Reckoning, No Reconciliation!Scientific "marvels" nazi-eugenicists could only dream of are widespread reality today – e.g. selective (late term) abortions of intersex foetuses "undesirable from an eugenics standpoint" (Hans Christian Naujoks 1934) because of "hereditary diseases due to abnormal predispositions, including hypospadias, pseudohermaphroditism, intersexuality, cryptorchidism and epispadias" (Baur, Fischer, Lenz 1936) – in exponentially growing rates thanks to prenatal testing. Nonetheless, public debate of such "eugenic indications" is found lacking, with occasional exceptions proving the rule mainly zeroing in on trisomy 21.

However, human rights apply to hermaphrodites too! Therefore, this blog documents some facts & figures on eugenic intersex terminations.

The following is a ranking mainly of Switzerland (although the sources used include figures from many more countries):

XXY / Klinefelter: 74% - CH Rank 3
A 2011 survey of over 20 regions, states and cities referenced and documented in the 2014 CRC Report (PDF 3.6 MB --> p. 76) finds Switzerland (74%) on rank 3, after Canada BC (88%) and Israel (85%), and followed by California and Denmark (70% each), Finland and the UK (66%) – with Germany (17%) at the rear end of the list:

"Intermediate sex": 47% - CH Rank 2
The "Eurocat Registry ("European registration of congenital abnormalities and twins") provides data for a global registry, tellingly named "World Atlas of Birth Defects". The current 2nd edition collects data from 1993-1998 e.g. on a rather obscure diagnosis called "Intermediate sex", including a chart detailing termination figures and rates (PDF 13.9 MB --> p. 184). Zurich (Switzerland) shows an overall termination rate of 47%, and in 1998 with scores second with 67%  – after Glasgow in Scotland (100%), and before Finland, Barcelona in Spain and Saxony-Anhalt in Germany 3rd (50% each). (Regarding the comparatively much lower figures it's of importance to note that not all "intermediate sex" diagnoses can be made prenatally – often also after birth no specific genetic diagnosis can be determined.)

Hypospadias: 1.58% - CH Rank 2
The intersex diagnosis hypospadias is not included under "intermediate sex" in the already referenced "World Atlas of Birth Defects", but listed seperately (same by the way as the intersex diagnosis XO "Turner Syndrome" in the "Eurocat Registry" ), again including a table of termination rates & figures (PDF 13.9 MB --> p. 178). Zurich (Switzerland) shows a termination rate of 1.58% for the period 1992-1998, and in 1995 scores rank 2 with 6.90%, after Barcelona (Spain) with 10%. #1 scores for the other years: 1993 Tomsk (Russia) 75%, 1994 Glasgow (Scotland) 12.50%; 1996 Antwerp (Belgium) 20.00%; 1997 Basque Country (Spain)  14.29%; 1998 Heinaut (Belgium) 5.56%. (Again, the rather low figures have to be put in context with the fact that at the moment hypospadias is pretty difficult to genetically test prenatally and also difficult to spot in ultrasound examinations.)

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Sunday 26 October 2014

Ending IGM: Dialogue with ESPE Representatives, Dublin 19.09.2014

Just before heading out to the informal meeting with '53rd ESPE 2014' representatives:
Claudia, Daniela, Markus, Gavan, Patrick, Richard (photo), and the Open Letter
with over a hundred additional signatories
, Dublin 19.09.2014.

Last year in Milano (Italy), our peaceful vigil was kindly approached by former ESPE secretary general and then ESPE president Francesco Chiarelli (Italy), who, after making sure we were behaving civilly, suggested we should ask for a meeting with ESPE representatives during the next annual meeting in Dublin. So after finally securing tickets to Ireland, we gladly took him up on his offer (PDF). Since Chiarelli was no longer serving ESPE in an official function, he kindly forwarded our communications to the current secretary general as well as to current Irish president Hilary Hoey, who involved representatives of ESPE's DSD Working Group and kindly set up an informal half-hour meeting in a hotel bar near the Convention Centre, which took place on September 19th after lunch.

Partcipants were Hilary Hoey (ESPE President, Dean, Faculty of Paediatrics, RCPI, Ireland), S. Faisal Ahmed (ESPE DSD Working Group, DSDnet, I-DSD, Co-Signatory of Endocrinologists' Letter to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Scotland), Anna Nordenström (ESPE DSD Working Group, DSDnet, DSD-Life, Co-Signatory of Endocrinologists' Letter to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Sweden), and Daniela Truffer and Markus Bauer for Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org, also handing in the hard copy of this year's Open Letter to ESPE.

We thank ESPE for facilitating this dialogue at rather short notice. It's noteworthy that, while as a result of our open letters we have been able to enter in a direct dialogue with several DSD clinics, this meeting marks the first time that a medical society rose to the occasion.

The following are Markus's memory minutes of topics broached (not necessarily in sequence), which have been cross-read and OK'd by all participants:

Faisal Ahmed likened medicine to an oil tanker which can not make abrupt maneuvres and takes time to change directions. Both Faisal Ahmed and Anna Nordenström stressed that medicine is a part of society and cannot act outside societal expectations. Anna Nordenström brought up the example of Sweden rather unexpectedly no longer proscribing castration as a requirement for transsexuals to change gender in identity documents as an example how society can change. Regarding ESPE's position on surgery, Faisal Ahmed referred to the endocrinologists' letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

Markus Bauer and Daniela Truffer stressed that non-consensual, medically unnecessary treatments of intersex children constitute serious human rights violations, as documented in the open letter, and that medicine should become more aware of human rights issues and its obligations under international law, which explicitly prohibits harmful practices justified by societal pressures. Also human rights are a vital part of society. Children are not the property of their parents to have them cut as they wish, they're human beings with innate human rights, unlike for example a chair whose legs, if deemed too long, may be shortened by a saw at its owner's desire. While UN bodies can also be likened to an oil tanker which may take time to reach travelling speed, human rights breaches by intersex treatments are currently being increasingly recognised across the board, with future increases in recognition to be expected.

Faisal Ahmed expressed discomfort with our protests outside medical congresses "painting all doctors with the same brush." Markus Bauer conceded that, as long as medical societies as a whole continue to advocate early surgeries, this was a political tactic to increase pressure and provoke discussions among different medical factions, asking not to take it personally.

Faisal Ahmed brought up the DSDnet Working Group 4 he's leading and which is tasked with ensuring consultation of intersex organisations, stressing how consultation is being increasingly recognised as important by doctors. He was impressed by the long list of signatories to the Open Letter, asking if we could represent these? Markus Bauer stressed that the intersex community is diverse and not a homogneous group, and that Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org could not speak for other groups having signed the letter, and suggested DSDnet should organise a meeting inviting all groups to discuss e.g. a memorandum of understanding of issues relevant to DSDnet, and perhaps a delegation for further contact, like this DSDnet could ensure to have actual (and not only pro-forma) consultation, but still wouldn't have to deal with dozens of individual groups all of the time. Also, while our group would welcome to be able to continue to participate a direct open dialogue, to avoid possible misunderstandings, this would not mean we would stop protesting peacefully. Faisal Ahmed agreed to stay in touch for further dialogue, and for us to make the intentions of DSDnet Working Group 4 known to other intersex organisations.

Hilary Hoey mentioned an actual case of 46,XX CAH in Ireland with complete virilisation incl. urethral opening at the tip of the penis, stating for her, and also for the parents, it would have been difficult letting this child grow up without surgery. Daniela Truffer cautioned that it is known that some of these children will later live as males, and that it's not legitimate to have surgery on a child to address parents' distress. Markus Bauer agreed that raising a child with atypical genitals is not always easy, and stressed the need for offering adequate psychosocial counseling for parents and persons concerned, and for health insurances to be able to cover for it, which, according to Hilary Hoey and Faisal Ahmed, in Ireland and the UK is not a problem. Markus Bauer asked Hilary Hoey how such children are treated in Ireland, referring to reports that they get transferred to UK clinics for surgery. Hilary Hoey replied also feminising surgeries were done in Ireland by two specialised paediatric surgeons.

>>> Open Letter to ESPE with 109 Signatories    >>> Flyer for the Rallies A4 (345 kb)
>>>
Photo Report: Peaceful Intersex Protest #1 kicking off, Dublin 18.09.2014 
>>> Press Release 19.09. "Genital Mutilations in Irish Children's Clinics Challenged"
 
>>> Press Release 10.09: "Intersex Genital Mutilations in Ireland: Info + Protests"    

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

Thursday 25 September 2014

WHO, OHCHR, UNICEF + 4 More Condemn Intersex Sterilisations + IGM, Demand Apology + Redress!

click to enlarge!

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook Hip, hip! Yet another victory for the movement to end Intersex Genital Mutilations!

The World Healt Organisation (WHO) together with the
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- UN Women,
- UNAIDS, the
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the
- United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
issued a ground-breaking Interagency Statement on
>>> "Eliminating forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization"
.

It criticises in no uncertain terms not only castrations of intersex children, but also IGMs in general.

And it contains equally clear-cut demands of state and institutional bodies, including

  • Independent and impartial investigation of all incidents
  • Recognize past or present policies, patterns or practices, issue statements of regret or apology to victims
  • Collection of data and monitoring
  • Provide appropriate and humane notification to people concerned
  • Access, including through legal aid, to administrative and judicial redress

Markus Bauer and Daniela Truffer (Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org) were consulted by the WHO for the interagency statement, together with representatives of other intersex organisations, including Anne Tamar-Mattis (Advocates for Informed Choice, USA) and Mauro Cabral (Argentinia). May similar explicit demands on all forms of IGMs be issued by ever more human rights bodies – and states forced to implement them! It's still a long way to go ...

After the break: Relevant excerpts from the interagency statement!

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

>>> Download full WHO Interagency Statement on "Involuntary sterilization"

Continue reading...

Saturday 20 September 2014

PRESS RELEASE: Genital Mutilations in Irish Children's Clinics Challenged by Survivors

600 hard copies of the Open Letter with 109 Signatures were distributed at both entrances

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookPress Release by StopIGM.org, 19.09.2014:

At the very first Intersex Protests in Ireland in front of the Convention Centre Dublin, survivors of Intersex Genital Mutilations in Children's Clinics are protesting doctors advocating medically unnecessary genital surgery on children born with variations of sex anatomy.

Today, they will hand in an Open Letter of Concern with 93 signatories from all continents to the doctors gathered for a three day international medical congress. The peaceful protests will continue until Saturday.

Intersex Genital Mutilations are serious human rights violations, criticised by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the Council of Europe, and several other human rights bodies. Nonetheless, IGMs are common in Ireland, and are performed regularly for example at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, The National Children's Hospital, Talaght, The Children's University Hospital, Temple Street, St. Vincent's University Hospital, Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Limerick, and The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

>>> Open Letter with 109 Signatories       >>> Intersex Protests + Info '53rd ESPE 2014'

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents 

Friday 19 September 2014

Open Letter of Concern to '53rd ESPE 2014' + Irish DSD Universities and Children's Clinics

StopIGM.org on Facebook>>> Fulltext with 109 Signatories        >>> Intersex Protests + Info '53rd ESPE 2014'

[...] We’d like to respectfully remind you that such non-consensual procedures

     constitute fundamental human rights
      violations (see below),
  
  constitute violations of civil, criminal,
      constitutional and international law, [1]
  
  constitute violations of ethics
      principles and regulations, [2]
  
  have been criticised by survivors as
      harmful and mutilating for more than
      20 years. [3] [...]

We therefore would like to reiterate our pleas to ESPE and its affiliates, including Irish Universities and Children’s Clinics,

  • to kindly reconsider non-consensual cosmetic treatments of children and adolescents with intersex variations (including hypospadias and CAH) unfortunately still advocated at the 53rd Annual Meeting in Dublin
  • to kindly reconsider the stigmatising nomenclature ‘Disorders of Sex Development’
  • to do so in consultation with intersex organisations
  • to acknowledge the harm and suffering inadvertently caused by non-consensual treatments of children and adolescents with intersex variations (including hypospadias and CAH)
  • to initiate a process of coming to terms with the past as a necessary first step towards reconciliation. [...]

>>> Fulltext: Open Letter of Concern to 'ESPE 2014' with 109 Signatories

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