CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—October 23, 2017
Thursday, October 26 is Intersex Awareness Day. Activists will gather on October 26 at Lurie Children’s Hospital, 225 East Chicago Avenue at noon to protest for intersex human rights demanding Lurie Children’s Hospital change policy to become the first hospital in the United States to end unnecessary intersex surgery. The event will be live streamed at fb.com/pidgeon.
Chicago Intersex activist and filmmaker Pidgeon Pagonis, a national leader in the fight for intersex rights, is a survivor of numerous medical procedures described as “corrective” measures, performed at Children’s Memorial Hospital (now Lurie) during their childhood.
“When I was a child, doctors at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital chose my sex and performed multiple surgeries to make my intersex body conform to their choice,” says Pagonis. “We are uniting in protest at Lurie, demanding they change policy to become the first hospital in the US to ban unnecessary intersex surgery.”
Chicago’s largest LGBT center, Center on Halsted, has endorsed a moratorium on medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex kids. Human Rights Watch, United Nations experts, the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, every major LGBT legal organization in the US, three former US surgeons general, American Medical Association Board of Trustees, the AIS-DSD support group for intersex people and their families, and intersex-led organizations around the world have called for an end to medically unnecessary non-consensual surgeries on intersex kids.
The Sex Development Program (SDP) at Lurie Children’s Hospital will host the AIS-DSD Intersex Support Group’s conference in the summer of 2018 in Chicago. While AIS-DSD wants to end medically unnecessary non-consensual surgeries, Lurie Children’s continues to advertise the procedures on their website. We’re hoping the SDP will choose to become a leader in the nation by instituting an immediate ban on all medically unnecessary genital and gonadal surgeries on intersex children by the time they host the conference.
What is Intersex? Even though there are about as many intersex people as there are people with red hair, the term is not well understood. According to the Free & Equal Intersex Fact Sheet: Intersex is an umbrella term describing the 1.7 percent of babies who are born with chromosomes, gonads or the internal or external sex traits that differ from societal expectations. While the vast majority of these children are born perfectly healthy, they are often still subjected to unnecessary and irreversible surgeries to force their genitals to conform to societal aesthetic “norm,” risking future fertility, scarring, incontinence, loss of sensation and psychological trauma, and a lifetime on synthetic hormones.