“And the fact that the word has ‘sex’ in it, that’s double jeopardy.
Particularly for parents of a newborn who hear that word for the first time, it’s so alarming.
’” Caitlin says of her mother, who she’s very close to.
“But she realized pretty quickly that that was about her and not about me.
The surgery has other lifelong impacts, as well—some research has shown that 20 to 30 percent of these surgeries have resulted in a dramatic loss of sexual sensation.“We’re trying to take a lot of the alarm out of it, just by saying to everybody—even people in the medical community—to slow down and not rush to ‘fix’ something right away,” says Green.
“The classic case is for the child to be swooped up and put in neonatal care.
But we are not our genitals, any of us, whether our bodies are ‘right’ or not.
Let parents bond with their baby, and don’t create this panic around the idea that your child isn’t right.”This focus on medical care, and building a holistic support network of family and knowledgeable medical professionals, grew out of a movement that has not hesitated to take to the streets.
For one, since almost all such surgeries create female, not male genitalia for the child, this can be extremely distressing for kids who feel male once they start growing up.
“The word hermaphrodite was used a lot, which is pretty offensive. And like one out of every 2,000 people, she was born with an intersex body.
It was upsetting to see all of these people pop up who seem to think they have the right to speculate about what somebody else’s body looks like.”“I live a very regular life. Intersex, or DSD (Disorders of Sex Development), is more complicated than most people think.
But now, perhaps for the first time ever, an intersex person is making the evening news, and intersex activists think this just might be a defining moment for their movement. “Intersex bodies should not be treated as though they are a sickness that needs to be cured, nor should [Semenya] face social stigmatization for the narrow-mindedness of some,” read one typical blog post.
Op-eds across the globe have condemned the public debate as snarky.