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California takes encouraging steps to protect intersex children

By Janine Warrington

Not long ago, I wrote an article on FāVS about the ethical and moral implications of performing sex assignment surgery on intersex infants. At the same time as I was researching and writing this article, the state of California was having conversations about and moving toward the passing of a resolution to protect intersex children.

Given the potential hazards of “normalizing” surgeries and the implications such surgeries hold for the value of intersex individuals, the California Senate and Assembly, in response to advocacy from such groups as interACT, have declared that such surgeries are immoral and, now, illegal.

Resolution SCR-110 states that “the Legislature opposes all forms of prejudice, bias, or discrimination and affirms its commitment to the safety and security of all children, including those born with variations in their physical sex characteristics.” It goes on to read that “intersex children [are] a part of the fabric of our state’s diversity to be celebrated rather than an aberration to be corrected,” and that “intersex children should be free to choose whether to undergo life-altering surgeries that irreversibly – and sometimes irreparably – cause harm.”

This is an encouraging and necessary step in protecting intersex individuals in our country. I pray that more states will follow, and that alongside legislative change we will begin to see cultural change as well.

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