Thursday, 24 January 2013

Press Release: Upcoming Disciplinary Hearing Against Dutch Gender Team

After about eight years it appears that the tide is finally turning for Maya Posch. Her case at the disciplinary medical commission in Amsterdam against the VUmc hospital's gender team has its first hearing scheduled to take place on February 12th, 2013. At stake are the claims by Maya that the VUmc's gender team has failed to provide adequate diagnostics, in addition to systematically denying her basic human rights.

Maya was officially recognized as being a hermaphrodite - a type of intersex condition whereby both male and female genitals are present - in early 2012 by a Dutch court, after German clinics repeatedly had drawn this conclusion, first in late 2007. In early 2005 she went to the VUmc. They repeatedly told her that she had to be a transsexual - someone who wants to change their biological sex and with it their body. Maya only wanted to undergo examinations which would tell her exactly how her body was put together, yet this was constantly denied by the VUmc. A first MRI scan in Germany in 2007 showed that Maya has both male and female reproductive organs.

Born officially as a boy, Maya already had her first name changed in 2010 from her old name to the one she currently bears. This request to another court was granted on the basis that Maya's outward appearance is that of a woman, and not a man. A male name would therefore only cause problems. Similarly Maya desired to have her official gender changed from male to female, something which in the Netherlands is extremely hard. A provision in Dutch law aimed at intersex children who received forced genital surgery after birth and who later disagreed with the assigned sex, offered a possible way for Maya to accomplish this.

There were only two issues in the way of qualifying for this law: the first being that she had to have medical proof that she was not fertile as a male, and secondly the law only mentions children by whom the presence of ambiguous genitals was already present by birth. For Maya the female genitals were - and still are - hidden by skin.

To qualify, she had to go to Germany again as this procedure was not possible in the Netherlands. During surgery the testicles were removed and an exploratory surgery showed again that she was indeed a hermaphrodite. A biopsy of the testicles also revealed that she had never been fertile as a male to begin with. Her body produced no significant amount of testosterone either. After this she could file the legal gender change request in the Netherlands, which was soon approved.

Maya spent over eight years at the VUmc and other Dutch hospitals, trying to get answers. Including to why the conclusions drawn by Dutch and German physicians differed so completely. Now supported by Dutch personal damages expert Yme Drost, the VUmc's gender team is the first Dutch group of physicians and psychologists who will have to explain their behaviour towards Maya, and possibly many other intersex individuals as well.

A few years ago Maya has started her own website and blog where she keeps track of the happenings in her life, and collects relevant bits of information and evidence. You can find it at


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