IGM: Ending the Impunity of the Perpetrators!

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

Eliminating IGM practices by holding the perpetrators accountable via well-established applicable human rights frameworks, including
• Inhuman Treatment and
• Harmful Practices

– short presentation by Daniela Truffer @ UN expert meeting on Intersex Human Rights

>>> PDF (831kb) 

(Photo: Intersex Protests vs. ‘1st D$Dnet Training School’ @ Ghent University Conference Centre, Belgium 10.06.2015)

Intersex Human Rights > Brill New UN OHCHR Fact Sheet

UNFE Intersex Factsheet ENGLISH Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook “Free & Equal”, the United Nations Campaign for LGBT Equality under the auspices of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, recently published a brilliant
>>> “Fact Sheet Intersex” (PDF)
which has been rightfully praised all over.

Markus Bauer (StopIGM.org): “I particularly welcome how it actually spells out “ill-treatment” and “harmful practices”, two crucial and most powerful human rights frameworks still too often ‘overlooked’ when discussing intersex human rights, same as “access to effective remedy, including redress and compensation” included in the action points.

“Put “perpetrators” on top of that, and consider my day made 🙂

“Together with the similarly brilliant German QueerAmnesty flyer on intersex (PDF), this is the new benchmark for adaequately adressing intersex rights from a LGBTQ perspective, while successfully avoiding the pitfalls of appropriation.

“Well done! Now, who’s next?”

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

STOP IGM Primer:
What everyone should know about Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM)!

>>> Download (PDF, 1.95 MB)

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM as a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

UN Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) Investigates Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM) – Switzerland Called Upon to Disclose Numbers

>>> UPDATE 2017: Switzerland sternly reprimanded for IGM by CCPR/HRCttee!

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

'STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation!' - UNHRC Geneva 20.10.2012As the result of yet another >>> Thematic Intersex NGO Report (PDF, 1.66MB) by Zwischengeschlecht.org  / StopIGM.org, Intersex.ch and SI Selbsthilfe Intersexualität, the Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) as the UN body monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) is discussing human rights violation of intersex people for the very first time, and calls upon Switzerland to disclose statistics on IGM Practices in their List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LoIPR) (CCPR/C/CHE/QPR/4, see below).

The Swiss state report addressing the questions of the LoIPR is due in November 2015.

Zwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org warmly welcomes the HRCttee’s questions on intersex within the LoIPR and is looking forward to the further examination of Switzerland.

Like the ground-breaking 2015 recommendations by the Committe on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Committee against Torture (CAT) and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilites (CRPD), this is yet another big win for the intersex movement – and StopIGM.org was once more in the forefront! To be continued … 

(For those unfamiliar with how the UN Human Rights Mechanism of Periodic Reviews works: State parties as signatories to UN conventions or covenants have to submit to a periodic review process regarding their obligations under each convention they ratified. Under the new so-called “Simplified Reporting Procedure”, which applied for the review mentioned above, UN monitoring bodies are transmitting state parties a “List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LoIPR)” before the state parties the write a periodical report incorporating the questions of the LoIPR, directly followed by the examination during the session, and thereafter the body issues Concluding Observations with binding recommendations to the state party – as opposed to the “regular (old style) reporting procedure”, where the state party first produces a report, followed by the List of Issues (LoI) with questions by the UN body concerned, followed by answers to the LoI by the state party, and then the examination during the session followed by the Concluding Observation. At various points in this process, NGOs or Civil Society Orgnisations (CSOs) can report to the UN body concerned (so-called NGO or Shadow Reports). Every state party is up for a periodical review on every UN convention they are a signatory to about every five years.)

In their List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LoIPR), the Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) addressed IGM Practices for the first time, referring to art. 7 (prevention of torture) and art. 24 (protection of the child) of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) (in line with the 2015 ground-breaking recommendations by the Committe on the Rights of the Child and the Committee against Torture, although the CCPR LoIPR predates those recommendations):

Human Rights Committee:
List of issues prior to submission of the fourth periodic report of Switzerland
(25 November 2014, CCPR/C/CHE/QPR/4, para 22, p. 5 >>> Download)

Rights of the child (arts. 7 and 24)

[…]

22.  Please comment on the reports of premature surgery and other medical treatment to which intersex children are subjected. Please indicate the number of intersex children who have undergone sex assignment surgery during the reporting period.

The struggle goes on …

>>> UPDATE 2017: Switzerland sternly reprimanded for IGM by CCPR/HRCttee!

'Human Rights For Hermaphrodites, Too!' - 2015 CRPD NGO Report

Intersex Genital Mutilations: 2015 Report to HRCttee
Documents ongoing Human Rights Violations under CCPR
 What is Intersex? • How Common are IGM-Practices?
 No Law to Prevent IGM  No Data Collection & Statistics
 No Access to Justice & Redress  No Disinterested Research
>>> Download PDF (1.66 MB)  

2017 NGO Report to the 4th Periodic Report of Switzerland on the  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR)

>>> Download as PDF (809 kb)

Compiled by:
StopIGM.org / Zwischengeschlecht.org
Intersex.ch
SI Selbsthilfe Intersexualität

>>> CCPR120 > Testimony to Intersex Genital Mutilation in Switzerland
>>> TRANSCRIPT + VIDEO: Switzerland Questioned over IGM + REPRIMAND
>>>
Switzerland: Pinkwashing of Intersex Genital Mutilations at HRCttee
>>>
UN Press release english | français – both mention intersex

STOP IGM Primer:
What everyone should know about Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM)!

>>> Download (PDF, 1.95 MB)

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM as a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

USA > CO > Children’s Hospital Colorado > Intersex Genital Mutilations Continue, Despite Euphemisms and Denials by Doctors and Clinics (1)

On 4 January 2015 the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child considered non-consensual, unnecessary genital surgey and other medical treatments on children with variations of sex anatomy as a “harmful practice” (same as e.g. FGM or forced marriage), and on 14 August the UN Committee against Torture considered IGM Practices as “Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CIDT).” Even in U.S. law discourse, the crimes against intersex children are starting to be called “Genital Mutilation”.

Nonetheless, the perpetrators around the globe just continue mutilating intersex children – and even boast about it in public and in the media.

Some recent U.S. examples – Part 1:

1.  SOAR Clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora CO

In a recent >>> article at 5280.com, the SOAR Clinic (“Sex Development Outcomes – Achieving Results”) flogs a typical PR article claiming how very much different intersex genitalia, erm, people are handled at Children’s Hospital Colorado as compared to “three decades [ago]”, plus boasting of its newly instated, alleged “Support groups for patients, parents and siblings.”

While the article does its very best to popularise these claims of “everything is different now”, evidence to the contrary still shows in the cracks – as long as one looks close enough, and is familiar with the usual mutilators’ “white lies” and “excuses” in order to be able to see through them. For example, the article states:

In fact, most children—with or without DSDs—don’t identify as male or female until they’re about two or three years old. For that reason, with inconclusive DSD cases the SOAR team asks parents to consider waiting on surgery that would cosmetically alter a child’s genitals until the child can make the decision. A few decades ago, doctors were quick to perform surgeries that altered babies’ genitalia if their body parts were considered abnormal; this led to a generation of men and women who were incorrectly raised as the opposite gender. “In an ideal world, we wouldn’t give the baby a gender and would let the child figure it out when he or she gets older,” Travers says. “But our society isn’t ready for that. Instead, we try to make the best decision. Then we encourage the families to have an open mind because we may not get it right.”

There, collected in one paragraph, we have already three of the more popular mutilator’s fallacies aimed at confusing the less informed public:

1.  Genital mutilation is only really wrong, when it cuts the children to the “wrong gender”. – Fact: IGM is always wrong, because it’s non-consensual, unnecessary surgeries and other irreversible treatments leading to e.g. loss of sexual sensation, sterility and lifelong severe pain and trauma.

2.  As long as society is not “ready” to abolish gender in birth certificates etc., genital mutilations are necessary and the “natural way”. – Fact: IGM is always wrong, because it clearly violates the children’s rights to bodily integrity, self-determination and autonomy – or would the same doctors seriously argue, that FGM in Africa would be A-OK and the way to go, until e.g. “patriarchy and cultural beliefs calling for FGM are abolished first”?! (Btw. ISNA debugged the mutilators’ fallacy, genital mutilations could be justified by “having to assign a sex” decades ago.)

3.  Today, we don’t do genital mutilations anymore. – Fact: IGM persists at Children’s Hospital Colorado in the overwhelming majority, if not virtually all cases, as the doctors admit themselves (albeit thinly veiled) when claiming, “with inconclusive DSD cases the SOAR team asks parents to consider waiting on surgery that would cosmetically alter a child’s genitals until the child can make the decision”: Though the article doesn’t spell it out, the really “inconclusive cases” (in the eyes of the doctors, any more enlightened person might note “clonclusively intersex”) are only very few, comparable to the earlier medical distinction of the very few “true hermaphrodites” vs. the overwhelming majority of “pseudo hermaphrodites”. So, if only in the “inconclusive DSD cases” parents are “[asked] to consider waiting on surgery” , the hospital in fact advocates infant genital mutilation from the very beginning in almost any and every “case”. What’s more, since the article states in the same paragraph, “most children—with or without DSDs—don’t identify as male or female until they’re about two or three years old,” this clearly indicates that, according to the Children’s Hospital Colorado, at three years latest, parents can stop “waiting on surgery” anyway – again without even the slightest consideration for the gross violation of the children’s rights to bodily integrity, self-determination and autonomy. Fittingly, the paediatric urology surgery unit in combination with the gynaecology surgery unit at “SOAR” offer unnecessary and mutilating surgery on virtually any intersex diagnosis, including “Ambiguous genitalia, Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) , Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Clitoromegaly, Hypospadias” (Urology) and “Absent vagina, External or internal genital anomalies, Disorders of sexual [sic!] development” (Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology).

While the SOAR clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado has to be commended for listing and linking at least some (mostly parents-lead) independent Peer Support Groups on their homepage, unfortunately all such embellishments and sweet-talking won’t change the persisting basic injustice:

Only if their parents vehemently refuse having unnecessary and harmful “genital corrections” done on them by unethical and irresponsible pedo doctors, intersex children will have at least a fighting chance of growing up without suffering genital mutilations – also at SOAR in Colorado.

IGM practices are a crime – perpetrators must be punished, survivors allowed access to redress and justice!

In the next installments, we’ll be looking at the current harmful practice at UCSF CA, UCLA CA, the Albany Medical College NY, …

>>> Intersex Surgeon: “Only Fear of the Judge Will Make My Collegues Change”
>>> UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) Condemns Intersex Genital Mutilations
>>> UN Committee of the Rights of the Child (CRC) Declares IGM a Harmful Practice

Bearing Witness to IGM > “It’s a Human Rights Issue!” – Daniela Truffer, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 20.08.2015

Daniela Truffer, CEDAW #43, Geneva 26.01.2009

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook Intersex: No Reckoning, No Reconciliation!Bearing witness to IGM – to end it! The more people know specifics about IGM Practices, the sooner these gross human rights violations perpetrated in children’s clinics around the globe will be HISTORY.

>>> Powerful testimony by Daniela “Nella” Truffer (PDF)
in the new edition of Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, vol. 5 no. 2 (2015), together with 19 more, incl. by Hida Viloria and Kimberly Zieselmann, and 4 commentaries, incl. by Lih-Mei Liao and Katrina Karkazis, in a thematic intersex section edited by Georgiann Davis and Ellen Feder (p 87-150 + online). Thanks! Hopefully yet more contributions will become available online for free …

“Inhuman Treatment”: UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) Condemns Intersex Genital Mutilations, Calls For Legislative Measures

Photo: UNHRC UPR #14, Geneva 20.10.2012

Zwischengeschlecht.org on FacebookPress Release by StopIGM.org, 14.08.2015:

Heidi Walcutt (1997): 'STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation'Zwischengeschlecht.org warmly welcomes the historic 2015 “Concluding Observations” of the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) for Switzerland.
>>>  CAT/C/CHE/CO/7, PDF, french, on intersex p. 7, para. 20

We particularly appreciate the Committee specifically demanding “legislative, administrative and other necessary measures”, both to eliminate the practice and to ensure access to redress and compensation for survivors, as well as referencing both the recommendations by the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics (NEK-CNE) (underlining the need for legal revision including liability, criminal law and statutes of limitation) and the recent recommendations by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (CRC/C/CHE/CO/2-4, recognising IGM as a Harmful Practice).

And we are very pleased that the Committee further explicitly calls for an investigation into the hitherto existing, and also in Swiss children’s clinics still ongoing practice (so far only the Zurich University Children’s Clinic has started a process of coming to terms and historical reevaluation, so far without any support by the state), and last but not least for adequate psychosocial support for parents and persons concerned instead of non-consensual, mutilating genital surgery on defenceless children.

Now the Federal Government and Parliaments are called upon to finally stop beating around the bush, but – in consultation with intersex people and their organisations – to take expeditious and adequate legislative action – like the National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics already stipulated in 2012.

The fight of intersex people and their organisations for “bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination” and to eliminate IGM practices is far from over. However, the Concluding Observations by the Committee against Torture mark another important and most welcome step towards these goals – and a sign of hope for intersex children everywhere!

[ Unofficial translation of CAT recommendation 20 on intersex after the break ]

>>> Geneva 2015: UN Committee against Torture (CAT) criticises IGM Practices
>>>
2015 CAT NGO Report “Intersex Genital Mutilations” (PDF 3.46 MB)
>>>
2015 CAT Briefing “IGM as Torture or CIDT” (PDF 1.7 MB)
>>>
CAT 2011: Germany should investigate IGM Practices and compensate survivors!

Read more“Inhuman Treatment”: UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) Condemns Intersex Genital Mutilations, Calls For Legislative Measures

Bearing Witness To IGM > Canada > Janik Bastien-Charlebois, Montreal Gazette 09.08.2015

3rd Intersex Forum 2013Janik Bastien-Charlebois (3rd from front, leftmost) @ 3. Intersex Forum 2013 in Malta

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook Intersex: No Reckoning, No Reconciliation!Bearing witness to IGM – to end it! The more people know specifics about IGM Practices, the sooner these gross human rights violations in children’s clinics around the globe will be HISTORY.

This blog says KUDOS to Janik Bastien-Charlebois

Shortly before my 17 birthday, my mom once told me, as we were driving in her car, that if I wanted a free surgery, I had to submit myself to one before I turned 18. Else it would be considered a cosmetic surgery and I would have to pay for it – something that would be pretty expensive to the point of being inaccessible for the young person I was. I was faced with an ultimatum. I did not desire surgery, but I was still unsure as to whether I would be loved as I was, and was afraid that finding that out after 18 would represent a risk. And then, wasn’t it what I had to do after all? «Sicknesses» and «malformations» are to be cured, not kept. And though I was offered a «choice», the very fact that it was offered where others are not conveys the message that it should be. The very fact that I had my clitoris touched and prodded in my youth had made me understand it was not entirely mine and that it would make sense that medicine remove whatever it is that it finds too much in it.

I was 17 when I went to see a doctor to have my genitals examined one last time, asking again if I «felt something». He told me that if I underwent the surgery, I would lose some sensation. I said fine. Sexuality was foreign to me, as I was submerged in a dominant and pervasive heterosexual culture. So yeah, «fine». And so I signed a consent form for a surgery at Sainte-Justine Hospital. I remember feeling uneasy about the terms, which were implying that that was my decision and my decision alone, castigating me in advance for doubts or second thoughts I could have. Dispossessed and overwhelmed, I went through the conformation machine like an automaton on rails.

The sickness of post-operative treatment and the pain of the wound hit hard. I never experienced such stabbing pains in my life, as nerves were dying out – nor was told I would be subjected to them. And I never expected my post-op genitals would look like a scary swollen «whatever» – nor was told they would look so. I remember one fleeting lucidity moment, as I lay on my bed on the first night after my surgery, looking at my hospital room ceiling thinking: «One day I’ll have to deal with all of this». Self-protection is strong, however. It would not fully resurface until 18 years later, and then only in progressive steps.

>>> Fulltext @ Montreal Gazette 

VIDEO: ‘Bodily integrity & self-determination’ – IGM Type 1: ‘Hypospadias Repair’, Pt. 3/4 – Tiger Devore

xxx

>>> VIDEO:  ‘The position that comes back with consistency, is that bodily integrity, self-determination, and informed consent can not be given by a child.’ In part 3, Dr Tiger recalls debates during the ‘5th I-DSD Symposium’ in Belgium, an exceptional congress insofar that it also invited different opinions, including from persons concerned.

IGM survivor and sex therapist Dr Tiger Devore talks Intersex Genital Mutilation Type 1: ‘Masculinising Genital Corrections’: ‘Hypospadias Repair’ in this four part interview on a serious human rights violation that ‘can not be allowed to continue.’

Filmed on occasion of nonviolent intersex protests vs. ‘6th I$HID Hypospadias Workshop’ with ‘Live surgery’, ‘5th I-D$D Symposium, and ‘1st D$Dnet Training School’ in June 2015.

Tiger Devore was one of the first survivors of IGM practices at all to speak out in public, and an excerpt (taken from the “STOP IGM Primer” (PDF)) of Tiger’s moving written personal testimony “Growning up in the surgical maelstrom” (1997) was recently quoted in a report “Human Rights and Intersex People” published by the Commissioner on Human Rights of the Council of Europe (COE).

StopIGM.org is proud to present this powerful interview series with Tiger talking truth to power. Part 4 coming up …

>>> Intersex Protests + Info: ‘6th I$HID Hypospadias Live Surgery Workshop’

Bearing Witness To IGM > “Doctors Told My Family To Hide The Truth” – Intersex Protest #2 vs. ‘D$Dnet’ in Belgium, Pt. 1 feat. Pidgeon Pagonis

>>> 8 Intersex Protests + Info vs. ‘D$Dnet’ + ‘I-D$D’, Belgium 07.-13.06.2015 

Intersex Protest #2: ‘1st DSDnet Training School’ @ Ghent University Congress Center ‘Het Pand’, 08.06.2015

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

Also on day #2 of the ‘1st D$Dnet Training School’ advocating IGM practices, the participants were greeted by an (admittedly small) nonviolent intersex protest, this time brandishing the 2nd and 3rd in a series of new placards featuring IGM survivors speaking out!

Placard no. 2 (see picture above) features US intersex activist and IGM survivor, AIC’s Pidgeon Pagonis (facebook) in a still taken from a recent feature on Al Jazeera USA (youtube):

Kudos to Pidgeon for summarising eloquently the lies surrounding today’s arguably 3rd most frequent form of Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM 3 – Castration / “Gonadectomy” / Hysterectomy / (Secondary) Sterilisation), which despite warnings by various human rights bodies is still regularly practiced on defenceless children  [WARNING!!!].

Many thanks for allowing us to feature this cool statement when confronting IGM doctors via nonviolent protests!

Since the reporting of the makers of the Aljazzera video has been rightfully criticised as a bit dodgy, here are some additional sources where Pidgeon says it as it is in their own words:

While again many participants of the ‘Training School’ reacted positively to the action, once more it didn’t take too long for an undisclosed representative of the Ghent University to think they could stop the protest …

>>> Intersex Protest #2 vs. ‘D$Dnet’ Genital Mutilators, Pt. 2 feat. Daniela Truffer

>>> Photo Report: Protest #1 ‘D$Dnet Training School’ @ Ghent Uni Congress Centre, 8.6.
>>> 8 Intersex Protests + Info vs. ‘D$Dnet’ + ‘I-D$D’, Belgium 07.-13.06.2015

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook

Intersex Genital Mutilations • 17 Most Common Forms
Human Rights Violations Of Children With Variations Of Sex Anatomy
IGM – Historical Overview  What is Intersex?  How Common are IGMs?
>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB)     >>> Table of Contents

IGM as a Harmful Practice: 2015 UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy?  • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights  • Conclusion: IGM as a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB)     >>> Table of Contents