The Discussion over Surgery on Intersex Babies

26.06.2020 Posted in Red Writing No Comments

If you have followed my blog, you know that I’m about to finish writing my book The Choice of a Countess, based on a true story of the incredible R.B. born Intersex.

R.B. and I have met by a coincidence. It was on Martinique during Xmas vacations. We were seating next to each on the beach. We started to talk and after spending a few hours together under the hot Carribean sun, the idea of the book was born. I was totally carried away by R.B., her life, inner strength and resilience. However, I did not know anything about the Intersex people. It was the first time that I have met an Intersex person. So in order to write about R.B., I had to do a lot of research about the subject that was new to me.

The subject of Intersex individuals is a complex, little known to general public matter and it raises a lot of issues which I somehow had to treat in my book while telling about R.B.. One of them seems to be a discussion (or a battle) on whether intersex babies should be operated. The point of the operation is to give them a gender identity so that they can integrate into society by the time they go to school, be identified as either a man or a woman and avoid zillions of problems they inevitably have to face. The main drawback of the operations is that they are based on the results of a few medical tests which are not very accurate and the sex of a baby may be wrongly identified.

Many activists say that such surgeries have to be banned if medically unnecessary and that the child will decide later his/her own fate. It is not clear whether the issue should be legislated and whether the decision should remain parent’s, doctor’s of child’s responsibility. For my book, I decided to choose the point of view of my protagonist. When I asked R.B. about it, she told me that she would have preferred to be operated at birth and avoid the trauma she faced at school, growing up in a small rural town in France.

It remains unclear which option will prevail. One thing is sure, it is necessary for attitudes towards Intersex individuals to shift as they shift for transgender people.

To read an extract from the book The Choice of a Countess click here

To read more about research I did to write the book click here

To know more about R.B. click here

To know more about the Intersex people see my previous post

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