While perusing their site, I found some highly disturbing news in their "recent tweets" section.
This news is contained in a letter AIC wrote to the Director of the Office for Human Research Protections. AIC states that NYC physician Dix P. Poppas, Doctor of Urology at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center of Cornell University, may be performing "follow-up tests" to intersex individuals receiving a type of genital mutilation surgery called nerve sparing ventral clitoroplasty. This type of surgery, then, would remove those apparently horrible, freakish enlarged clitorises, but preserve nerve functionality, allowing individuals to receive some genital sexual pleasure. (Or, you could just not do the surgery and allow these individuals to have genital sexual pleasure anyway! Just sayin'.) The problem with these follow-up tests is two-fold: 1) these tests may or may not have been approved by the Institutional Review Board, or IRB - the organization concerned with approving any research involving human subjects, with ethics in mind; and 2) whether or not the tests received IRB approval, they are of questionable ethics at best.
Here's an excerpt from the document, as follows. Please note that this excerpt may be triggering to some individuals.
"In a published paper, Dr. Poppas reports employing an unorthodox technique of applying medical vibratory devices to the genitals of girls and young women ages 5 to 24 years old to collect data on post-operative clitoral sensitivity.1 Poppas’ 2007 paper in the Journal of Urology details the procedure of stimulating the girls’ clitorises with “medical vibratory devices” while the girls are conscious. More specifically, the girls are subjected to annual visits in which Poppas touches their surgically modified clitorises with a cotton-tip applicator and/or with a “vibratory device,” and asks them to rate the sensation they feel on a scale of 1 to 5. Using the vibrator, he touches on their inner thighs, labia minora, and the introitus of their vaginas. My colleagues and I are unaware of any other clinician using this technique. Further, Poppas also reports performing “capillary perfusion testing,” a technique in which the physician presses a finger nail on the girl’s clitoris to observe blood flow as a sign of healthy tissue. Dr. Ken Zucker, Psychologist-in-Chief and Head of the Gender Identity Service in the Child, Youth, and Family Program at Tornonto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Professor with the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Toronto, has publicly responded to this report by stating, “Applying a vibrator to a six-year-old girl’s surgically feminized clitoris is developmentally inappropriate.”2 Given the well-documented psychological harm that can come to girls with DSD as a result of excessive visual genital exams,3 it seems likely that Poppas’s far more invasive tests pose substantial risk of psychological harm to young girls."(Emphasis mine)
I don't care if the vibrator is a medical vibrator or not. This kind of "treatment" cannot be consented to by individuals as young as 6 years old. If Poppas really wanted this kind of information, a survey would be more appropriate once individuals were sexually active. And if surveys were used, one would obviously not administer one to a 6-year-old, since the 6-year-old would be highly highly highly unlikely to be engaging in consensual sexual relationships. If one would not administer a survey to a 6-year-old, then, why would it be appropriate to perform vibrator tests on these children? For individuals of all ages "tested," though, it is not difficult to imagine how this procedure could definitely be traumatizing.
To repeat, however, one's sexual function wouldn't be risked IF THE GENITAL MUTLATION SURGERY WASN'T PERFORMED AT ALL.
My whole being aches thinking of the questions, memories, and feelings some of these individuals - and some of them quite young, too - may have later after undergoing what could very easily be viewed as unethical medical practice. Even if Poppas is performing these practices with good intentions by his own perspective ("I want to see if my technique is working!") it is difficult to justify that these follow-up procedures are in the PATIENTS' best interest. Are these types of procedures worth risking possible emotional and psychological trauma for these individuals?
I feel so sick after reading this.