The Pros And Cons Of An Intersex Baby

1840 Words 7 Pages
Growing up as gender neutral in a society where a gender binary is widely expected may be incredibly emotionally challenging. At birth, doctors, parents, and families either wrap a newborn baby in a pink or blue blanket. Immediately, the baby is immersed in society’s demand of a female or male identification. An intersex baby, who is born with androgynous genitals, is both, and neither. If I had an intersex baby, I would be shocked, worried, and afraid of what the baby would experience as intersex growing up in a gender dichotomous society. Because growing up gender neutral is almost impossible and potentially harmful to the child, I would assign the child to the female gender. However, I would not allow any immediate genital reassignment surgery, …show more content…
Because of this lack of differentiation, doctors are unable to assign the child as male or female based on their genitalia at birth. Some doctors offer gender reassignment surgery in which the intersex baby’s genitals are surgically transformed so the physical appearance of the genitals then appear either physically male or female. This particular surgery can be performed after birth, with just the parent’s consent. Often parents who wish for their child to undergo surgery believe that physically normalizing the baby will help them avoid an identity crisis and harassment later in life due to their genital ambiguity. They believe that surgery is necessary for their child to live a normal life. However, the gender reassignment process is traumatizing and often humiliating for the baby, entailing dangerous risks that could simply be avoided. Many intersex people forced to undergo the surgery as a child “experienced consistently negative and confusing messages about their bodies and identities” (Preves 35). Later in life, the baby who had been forced to undergo surgery may also feel that their voice about the parts of their body most intimate to them was completely discounted. Feeling this powerlessness and betrayal could eventually lead to resentment of the parents. Though the parents might feel allowing surgery was …show more content…
Many parents believe that ambiguous genitalia prevent the child from experiencing a pleasurable sex life as they get older. This, however, is false. Intersex people with ambiguous genitalia are fully capable of experiencing a healthy, enjoyable, sex life, and do not need any surgical operations to do so. In fact, surgical alterations of the genitalia often leave intersex people with scarring and de-sensitized genital tissue. Because of expected gender role behavior, some intersex people, and intersex people’s parents, believe that the only form of sex is vaginal penetration and not being able to perform that would disappoint their partners. Due to these misconceptions, intersex people’s bodies “are literally molded to fit societal values” (Morris 8). There are many other ways to experience sexual pleasure, besides vaginal sex, that are enjoyable to both partners. Experimenting with what is pleasurable with ambiguous genitalia and finding a partner who appreciates the intersex person’s natural body is imperative for a healthy sex life. Understanding that there are a multitude of possibilities in regards to intercourse that allow for a non-surgically altered appearance then becomes a significant factor in ruling against surgery for the

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