Thursday, 15 September 2011

Asking Human Rights Watch Why They Omitted Intersex

A brief while ago, Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/) published a report on the human rights violations by the Dutch government through its forcing of people to get sex-reassignment surgery if they want to change their official gender. Many other countries have already dropped this barbaric practice, including Spain. The report can be found at: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/09/13/controlling-bodies-denying-identities-0

Now,the report only refers to intersex people in the most basic of terms, which is ridiculous since intersex is a far larger group and suffers from a similar problem in addition to many other severe problem due to regulations and laws. This is why I sent HRW the following letter:

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Dear Sir/Madam,

In your recent report regarding human rights violations in the Netherlands (http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/09/13/controlling-bodies-denying-identities-0) the main focus is on transsexuals, with only a brief referral to and no mention of intersex, even though this latter group is many times larger (1 in every 25) than the former and suffers many of the same and various additional issues. It's also so that many if not most transsexuals are in fact intersex, either because they got forced genital surgery as a child, or because their intersex condition never got discovered and diagnosed.

Is there a particular reason why HRW seemingly ignored intersex in this report? In the Netherlands there's law 1:24 of the Dutch civil code which technically should allow intersex people to change their official gender, but which comes with the same surgery requirement. I am currently going through this procedure, having found a good lawyer who allows me to dodge some clauses of this law, and am forced to undergo orchiectomy to qualify for it (being infertile as a male, in this case). This procedure has to be performed in Germany, as Dutch hospitals would only do the orchiectomy as part of an SRS.

In my case I was born as a hermaphrodite, with no external opening for the vagina. For seven years I have attempted to get medical help including examinations and a diagnosis for what exactly my condition entails. I am okay with being a hermaphrodite, but only recently did I discover why I didn't get any help here: Disorder of Sexual Development, or DSD policies. Every resistance I encountered was due to physicians and psychologists pushing me towards 'fixing' my 'birth defect' by following the transsexual protocol and becoming a 'regular' woman.

Due to this resistance, the PTSD and other traumatic disorders I have suffered over the years, I have found myself forced to migrate to Germany. From what I have seen, my situation isn't a fluke, and I have seen much disrespect shown to transsexuals in the Netherlands at the VUMC's gender team.

I sincerely hope that HRW can expand the current report, or release a new report more focused on the general issues encountered by those who do not wish to conform to or do not fit easily into the binary male/female pattern.

Thank you for your attention,


Maya Posch
www.mayaposch.com

Project Manager for World Intersex Society for Humanity:
http://www.mayaposch.com/wish.php

2 comments:

LMX said...

Very nicely done, Maya. :)

Maya Posch said...

Thanks :) I doubt I'll get a response from them, but I had to do it.