I think that in the interest of all parties involved, that the action applied should be determined on a case by case basis.
What is easiest for the parents to cope with? What is most affordable? What is easiest for the child to cope with? What is practical given how far along the child is in development? Is the child “leaning” to one gender or another in terms of hormone levels? Does this make one course of action medically more practical than the other? What do the physicians think is the best course of action given past cases they have examined in which the patients were similar? Is precedence more important in determining successful procedures or should they use this opportunity to maybe try an innovative new treatment?
I could spend all day coming up with questions and issues that they must ask and the point I want to make is that, for all our discussions and analysis of intersex, there DOES NOT exist a clear cut right or wrong. I think what we’re trying to get at (and all agree upon) is that these people deserve their human rights just as much as anyone else and should be informed of their situation and provided with all the information. For a physician to “decide” what is best for the child without consulting the parents and taking into account all the complications is a medical/ethical issue that is hotly debated as to when it is and is not appropriate.
While we do acknowledge that they are trained individuals in resolving these problems, we also must acknowledge that they too are people and can and will make mistakes. While their advice should be taken into serious consideration, we have to look at what all parties agree on as the best compromise in the course of action and they should keep the child’s health and happiness at the forefront of their objectives in deciding this.
Is our class going to resolve this issue? Certainly not! But I think we all have a better handle on the issues facing intersex and that can understand where Emi is coming from and why this topic deserves considerable attention.