Yesterday, August 28th, marked a huge step forward in the fight for intersex rights when the California State Legislature passed a resolution condemning surgeries that seek to “correct” intersex children.
According to BuzzFeed News, the bill, known as SCR110, was introduced by Senator Scott Wiener and co-sponsored by Equality California and the intersex youth advocacy group interACT. While the legislation doesn’t outlaw nonconsensual surgery on children with sex traits outside the male/female binary, it does urge the medical community to stop the practice.
The bill notes that “these surgeries are often performed before a child can even speak or stand” and that such procedures can result in pain, incontinence, PTSD, and even an incorrect gender assignment. As a result, it calls the practice a human rights violation.
Kimberly Zieselman, executive director of interACT, told USA Today that the resolution was a huge victory.
InterACT notes that intersex people make up as much as 1.7% of the U.S. population and that traits outside the gender binary aren’t just limited to the anatomical. Some intersex people born with sex chromosomes other than XX or XY, for instance, might not realize this until they’re adults. InterACT recommends allowing intersex people to make their own decisions about whether or not they want surgery. Both the United Nations and the World Health Organization consider the practice of performing these surgeries on children to be a human rights concern.
The latest California legislation marks a huge victory for both intersex rights and visibility, but it’s only the first step in what is sure to be a long process. Intersex people, like people of all genders, deserve to have control over their own bodies, and we look forward to the day when this becomes the norm.