“Intersex: Third Gender in Germany” (Spiegel, Huff Post, Guardian, …): Silly Season Fantasies vs. Reality of Genital Mutilations

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«A Gonad For A Gonad, A Lust Organ For A Lust Organ» - Garry L. Warne (left) at the main entrance of '3rd EuroDSD Symposium', Lübeck 20.5.11Peaceful protest outside the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children,
host of the infamous ‘ISHID 2011 Live Surgeries’, London 18.09.2011

In a nutshell: The new German birth certificate law is NOT about making an optional ‘3rd gender entry’ available for the intersexed, but in fact
prohibits ‘ambiguous’ children to be registered as ‘M’ or ‘F’.

Therefore, for the persons concerned, this new law is stigmatising, bound to result in more mutilating ‘genital corrections’, and generally bad news – quite contrary to the ‘uplifting’ ‘gender progress’ fantasy the media made out of it,
at the expense of even more mutilated children, again.

Press Release by Zwischengeschlecht.org, 22.08.2013:   [ German 20.08.2011 ]

Heidi Walcutt (1997): 'STOP Intersex Genital Mutilation'

Zwischengeschlecht.org on Facebook‘The option of selecting “blank”, in addition to the standard choices of “male” or [“]female” on birth certificates will become available in Germany from November 1,’  claim Spiegel (16.08.), Huffington Post (17.08), Guardian (18.08.), Guardian (19.08.), etc.

However, those (and more) claims are not based on facts, but derived from whataboutery and speculation.

We ask: When will Intersex Genital Mutilations finally cease to be ‘overlooked’ – and articles about intersex finally give persons concerned and their organisations a say, too?

        Reporting on Intersex: A Call for Fairness and Accuracy
        • Fact #1: New German intersex Law: Stigmatising Prohibition, NOT ‘Option’
        • Fact #2: Intersex-Organisations unanimously and strongly criticise § 22 (3) PStG
        • Fact #3: State ‘Licence to Mutilate’ – in spite of UN condemning IGM as torture 

Fact #1: On 31.01.2013 the german federal parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) wrote into law an amendment in the Law on Civil Status, § 22 (3) PStG, which stigmatisingly prohibits ‘ambiguous’ newborns of having a sex registered:

PStG § 22 Abs. 3 [new]: ‘(3) If the child can be assigned to neither the female nor the male sex, then the child has to be entered into the register of births without such a specification.’

PStG § 22 Abs. 3 [neu]: ‘(3) Kann das Kind weder dem weiblichen noch dem männlichen Geschlecht zugeordnet werden, so ist der Personenstandsfall ohne eine solche Angabe in das Geburtenregister einzutragen.’

(There was no involvement or reference to a ‘recommendation’ or verdict by the constitutional court, as the mentioned articles claim – instead, as can be clearly seen from the original source Süddeutsche Zeitung, given as reference by the articles, the new § 22 (3) PStG is a specific intersex legislation that was, as the debate in parliament clearly proves, in fact based on the Recommendations by the German Ethics Council on Intersex in 2012. Nowhere there was a ‘third category’ or ‘option’ mentioned in the law nor in parliament, this part was mere speculation and daydreaming by journalists and pundits. The only part in the articles that is true, is the fact that this new law § 22 (3) PStG will be in effect from 01.11.2013.)

Fact #2: Intersex-Organisations unanimously and strongly criticise § 22 (3) PStG:
• Weblog Zwischengeschlecht.info [in german]:  31.01.2013  03.02.2013  09.02.2013
• Zwischengeschlecht.org:  [german press release 01.02.2013]  [français 01.02.2013]
[german press release 03.02.2013]  [german press release 20.08.2013]
22.08.2013 (= this press release)  [Markus Bauer] 30.10.2013  [german 31.10.2013 (1)]
[german 31.10.2013 (2)]  [german press release 01.11.2013]  01.11.2013  + many more
• Intersexuelle Menschen e.V.:  [german 05.02.2013]  [german 31.10.2013]
[Lucie Veith] 01.11.2013  [Simon Zobel, Michaela Raab] [français 04.11.]  + many more
• OII Germany:  [german press release 07.02.2013]  15.02.2013  [français 19.08.2013]
[german 31.10.2013]  + several more
• OII Australia:  20.08.2013  04.11.2013 
• OII Frankophonie:  [français 20.8.2013]
• Hida Viloria (OII USA) 01.11.2013  06.11.2013
• Claudia Astorino (OII USA): 04.11.2013

No Intersex-Organisation ever called for a mandatory ‘third category’ for persons concerned, let alone for children, nor to be prohibited to be registered as male or female. In contrary, for decades they have spoken out against such demands sometimes made in their name by non-intersex groups, and have criticised appropriation – and for good reasons:

For persons concerned, § 22 (3) PStG adds up to: Forced outings of intersex children – free reign for genital mutilators.

§ 22 (3) PStG amplifies the position of power of medicine to put pressure on parents concerned to ‘consent’ to having their otherwise ‘unacceptable’ children mutilated, or to a selective late-term-abortion.

Fact #3: On 27.06.2013 the german federal parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) issued the doctors an actual official licence to carry on with the mutilations – in spite of UN Committee on Torture (CAT) in 2011 calling upon Germany to investigate cosmetic genital surgeries on intersex children and to compensate survivors (CAT/C/DEU/CO/5, para 20), and in spite of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (SRT) in 2013 unmistakably condemning ‘involuntary genital normalizing surgery’ and ‘involuntary sterilization’ on ‘Children who are born with atypical sex characteristics’ (A/HRC/22/53, para 77, 76) …

UPDATE: And despite that

  • in 2013 the Council of Europe (COI) called for legislation to end “unnecessary medical or surgical treatment that is cosmetic rather than vital for health”  (Resolution 1952).
  • in 2015 the UN Committee on Torture (CAT) strengthened their 2011 recommendations, additionally calling for legislative measures not only to guarantee access to redress and compensation for survivors, but also to prevent perpetrators from continuing with IGM Practices (CAT/C/CHE/CO/7)

Nonetheless, also in Germany the daily Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM) continue unhindered …

THIS is the reality for intersex people in Germany (and many other countries)  – NOT gender-fantasies of an ‘option’ of ‘a “third gender” distinction on birth certificates’ as a ‘progressive measure for sexual minorities’.

We’re calling upon journalists and the media to ensure fairness and accuracy when reporting on intersex issues in the future. Thank you!

>>> Related posts by OII Australia and 360° (français). Thanks!

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 is IGM?
>>> 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

>>> Heidi Walcutt: ‘I just want to get a dull rusty knife …’ (07:58)
‘At times I feel like hiding in the closet, because it’s like how can anybody accept somebody who has been this mutilated, and, you know, who can accept damaged goods? And in other times I get so mad that I just want to get a dull rusty knife and start hacking off doctors’ genitals and say: “Here, you son of a bitch, now, how do you think it feels?”’

Video ‘Hermaphrodites speak!’ @07:58

>>> ‘May your hand rot off, which you used to mutilate defenceless children!’

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