Intersexed Children

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  • Topic: Gender, Intersexuality, Hermaphrodite
  • Pages : 1 (312 words )
  • Download(s) : 1040
  • Published : May 13, 2008
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Although surgery to alter an intersex child’s genitals is commonly performed, it is better to assign a gender without surgery. The benefits of assigning a child as male or female, without surgery, include; the opportunity for the child to later change their gender identity, it allows the child become better educated about intersexuality, and provides an opportunity for the child to explore being both male and female. Surgery is difficult to change if the child later identifies as the opposite sex (Chase, 2002). Surgery on intersex infants should be discouraged until the child is old enough to have a strong identity as male or female.

More education and information need to be provided to parents of intersex children. Cohen-Kettenis and Plafflin (2003) suggested that the potential environmental influences make appropriate counseling and education for the family all the more important. Parents should know that the sex assignment surgery is not the only option for their child. Numerous studies show that ambiguous genitalia do not negatively impact the quality of life or well-being of individuals with intersex (Aho, Tammela, Somppi, & Tammela, 2000; Kuhnle, Bullinger, & Schwarz, 1995). Individuals with intersexuality claim that they would have preferred to have been included in the decision-making process regarding their sex assignment (Kuhnle & Krahl, 2002). For this reason, it is possible to delay genital operations until the patients can decide for themselves. Brinkmann (2007) has found that more negative side effects of surgery exist than benefits. Children who have undergone surgery report feeling like less of a person, and ashamed of who they are. There is some stress and pressure associated with choosing to identify with a gender; however, it is far less stressful for the child to identify with a gender without surgery than to realize later that he/she does not identify with the gender that was assigned to him/her.
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