I was an intersex child who had surgery. Don’t put other kids through it – Arkansas News

I was an intersex child who had surgery. Don’t put other kids through it – Arkansas News

Kimberly Mascott Zieselman, Opinion contributor
Published 3:15 a.m. ET Aug. 9, 2017

Doctors and parents are doing irreversible harm solely due to discomfort with difference. We are erased before we can even tell them who we are.

I was born with typically “male” XY chromosomes and internal testes instead of ovaries and a uterus, but my body developed to appear typically female.

My intersex condition was invisible until I reached puberty and failed to menstruate like other girls. On the advice of doctors at a major hospital, my parents agreed that I should have surgery to remove my healthy gonads, without my knowledge or consent.

A clinical trial saved my life. It could save yours, too.

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My natural hormone production ceased, and I was forced onto hormone replacement therapy for the rest of my life. I was just 15. Doctors also recommended to my parents that I receive invasive surgery to create a more “typically” sized vagina — thankfully, my parents refused. I didn’t find out about any of this until I was 41 years old.

Intersex people like me — up to 1.7% of the population — are born with sex characteristics that do not fit typical definitions of male or female. I have androgen insensitivity syndrome. Because my body was resistant to androgens, including testosterone, in the womb, my natural hormones automatically converted into estrogen through a process called aromatization.

Intersex people have been the last bastion of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” with doctors…

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