Title

Intersexuality and the Ethics of Infant Genital Surgery

Presenter Information

Zachariah Dozier

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Room 271

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

ethics, surgery, intersex

Abstract

It is the primary focus of this paper to argue that the surgical response to intersexuality in infants and children, outside of evident threats to the child’s health and without regard to the child’s own agency, ought to be criminalized under the same justification as the Criminalization of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 1996. Through a philosophical examination of the surgical response to intersexuality and the reasons that this practice has become prominent, it is revealed that this treatment is based solely on the incorrect cultural assumption of sex as strictly binary. Furthermore, many of the negative physical side effects of genital-normalizing surgeries performed on intersexed children are parallel to the effects of female genital mutilation. Included in this paper will be an explanation intersexuality and intersexed conditions; a discussion on the history of the medical treatment of intersexuality; an analysis of the goals of surgical intervention weighed with common or unavoidable side effects of such procedures; a discussion of each person’s fundamental rights to autonomy, bodily integrity, and reproduction; as well as the implications of the 1996 Act protecting female children and an explanation as to why those protections should extend to all infants and children, regardless of anatomy. (Editor’s Note: This presentation may contain adult themes, content, or imagery.)

Faculty Mentor(s)

Coe, Cynthia

Additional Mentoring Department

Philosophy and Religious Studies

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May 15th, 2:40 PM May 15th, 3:00 PM

Intersexuality and the Ethics of Infant Genital Surgery

SURC Room 271

It is the primary focus of this paper to argue that the surgical response to intersexuality in infants and children, outside of evident threats to the child’s health and without regard to the child’s own agency, ought to be criminalized under the same justification as the Criminalization of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 1996. Through a philosophical examination of the surgical response to intersexuality and the reasons that this practice has become prominent, it is revealed that this treatment is based solely on the incorrect cultural assumption of sex as strictly binary. Furthermore, many of the negative physical side effects of genital-normalizing surgeries performed on intersexed children are parallel to the effects of female genital mutilation. Included in this paper will be an explanation intersexuality and intersexed conditions; a discussion on the history of the medical treatment of intersexuality; an analysis of the goals of surgical intervention weighed with common or unavoidable side effects of such procedures; a discussion of each person’s fundamental rights to autonomy, bodily integrity, and reproduction; as well as the implications of the 1996 Act protecting female children and an explanation as to why those protections should extend to all infants and children, regardless of anatomy. (Editor’s Note: This presentation may contain adult themes, content, or imagery.)