Call for a ban on ‘sex-normalising’ surgery for intersex children

The PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination today called for a ban on unnecessary sex-“normalising” surgeries, sterilisation and other treatments practised on intersex children without their informed consent. Any treatment that seeks to alter the sex characteristics of the child, including their gonads, genitals, or internal sex organs, should be “deferred until such time as the child is able to participate in the decision”, based on the right to self-determination and on the principle of free and informed consent.

 

In unanimously adopting a draft resolution based on a report by Piet de Bruyn (Belgium, NR), the Assembly members also stated that it was crucial to ensure that the law “does not create or perpetuate barriers to equality for intersex people”. This includes ensuring that intersex people who do not identify as male or female have access to legal recognition of their gender identity. Where their gender has not been correctly recorded at birth, the procedure for rectifying this should be “simple and based on self-identification only”.

With a view to assisting intersex people, their parents and entourage to deal with the challenges posed amongst other things by social attitudes towards variations in sex characteristics, the Assembly members called for adequate psychosocial support mechanisms for intersex people and their families, along with support for civil society organisations “working to break the silence around the situation of intersex people”.

The draft resolution will be put to the vote by the Parliamentary Assembly at its next plenary sitting (Strasbourg, 9-13 October 2017).