On Wednesday the California State Legislature passed a new legislation condemning “corrective” surgeries on intersex children, becoming the first state to do so.
Often when a child is born intersex, i.e. born with ambiguous genitals that do not fall neatly into cisgender “male” and “female” categories, parents can elect for their children to have surgery to correct the ambiguity. For the past few years advocates against intersex surgery argue that children are too young to consent to such surgeries, with some adults who’ve undergone such surgery arguing that they are medically unnecessary and potentially traumatizing.
Buzzfeed News reports that while the new California legislation, known as SCR110, doesn’t outright ban the surgeries, advocates hope it will send a message to doctors who continue to support the practice. The resolution calls the practice an outright human rights violation.
“It means for the very first time a U.S. legislative body has affirmatively recognized that intersex children deserve dignity and the right to make decisions about their own bodies – just like everyone else,” Kimberly Zieselman, executive director of interACT Advocates for Intersex Youth, told USA Today. interACT, a youth advocacy group which authored the legislation, is currently in talks with other states for similar resolutions Buzzfeed reports.