Sunday, July 4, 2010

Human Rights Violations: Best Paired With Fancy Chocolates?

Well, it looks like plans are already in the works for the IV World Congress on Hypospadias and Disorders of Sexual Development in Norwich, Britain. Oh, joy of joys!

Just to refresh your memory, the III World Congress on Hypospadias (which I previously posted about it here) featured several days of doctors discussing how best to "treat" intersex individuals (who clearly must be fixed), the newest methods to most efficiently perform genital mutilation surgeries (ahh, technology!), and mutilation tutorials, where SEVERAL INFANTS WERE ACTUALLY MULTILATED AT THE CONFERENCE FOR OTHERS TO WATCH. Condoning these discriminatory views and barbaric practices is completely unacceptable, and it saddens me that the conference will take place another time.

If you click on the first link and check out the website, it looks more like an invite to vacation in Norwhich than to attend a conference. Yes, the left-hand side of the main page mentions discussions, presentations, and pros-cons debates, and how important this conference is since it addresses "such a challenging subject." (I don't really see how intersex individuals pose such a challenge. It really isn't that difficult to see us as just people, and let us live our lives without either potentially altering and/or lopping off our body parts, or potentially providing misinformation to us and our loved ones about how to "manage" us. It can really only be difficult when your view is, "OMGWTFBBQ! WHAT DO WE DO WITH THESE *cough*freaks*cough*, UH, PEOPLE! WE CAN'T DECIDE WHETHER THEY'RE "REALLY" MALE OR FEMALE USING ARBITRARY GUIDELINES, BECAUSE THEY OBVIOUSLY SHOULDN'T BE GIVEN THE AGENCY TO HAVE A RIGHT TO THEIR BODIES AND CHOOSE HOW THEY IDENTIFY!") But look to the right, and you'll see an entire section on fancy, touristy things to do in Norwich. It lists a Chocolaterie, places to shop for gifts ("Susie, look what Uncle Johnny bought you when he went to slice people up from London for their own good!"), Norman castles, and pubs. But, what do the "picturesque landscape of marshes and fen" have to do with the medical institutionalization of engaging in human rights violations? Does anyone else find it a bit upsetting that hundreds of individuals lives will be ruined after this new conference's proceedings, while the physicians are encouraged to "...extend your stay and invite your friends and family to join you. Do take this opportunity to visit this lovely area."? Does this conference really have intersex individuals' welfare at the forefront, or the physicians' digital cameras, some which will undoubtedly be filled with pictures of their smiling children eating pie and mash...children who could have easily been operated on by these same physicians, had they been born to other individuals, and possessed a different anatomical, genetic, and/or physiological suite?

The conference is also telling in the "Who Should Attend" section. Those cleared for attendance include doctors of various specialties, social workers, genetic counselors, and mental health professionals. Glaringly absent from this list are INTERSEX INDIVIDUALS. Is it not logical that if one is interested in making decisions regarding intersex people, that INTERSEX PEOPLE should be involved in the decisions that will affect them? More logical yet, shouldn't each INTERSEX INDIVIDUAL be allowed to make decisions about their bodies and their identity FOR THEMSELVES, without these things being dictated by doctors who very likely are not intersex themselves, and cannot relate to the wide variety of life experiences intersex people have had? WHY SHOULD INTERSEX PEOPLE "NOT ATTEND" THE CONFERENCE?

This conference does not yet list whether or not live genital mutilation surgeries will be performed at the conference like last year, or whether The Accord Allicance - supposedly an organization advocating for the health of intersex individuals - will sponsor them, in part. Let's hope that these things don't happen.

Regardless, if you are outraged that medical and psychological health professionals feel entitled to make decisions about things only each individual should be able to make for themselves, then feel free to give some suggestions on how to improve their conference. (Like, you know, not having it.)

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