Iatrogenic Trauma

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Medical authority deems interventions toward anyone born with an intersex variation as always benign, and a positive contribution to the future well-being of that individual.

Intersex advocacy and activism has made it clear for over 20+ years that is untrue, yet clinicians still cling to that belief.  A superb critique of that cognitive dissonance can be found in a recent article by a colleague in OII-Australia.   They expertly deconstruct two papers written about CAH; two papers that use the same cohort of individuals to draw entirely different conclusions from the same data.  The critique authoritatively illustrates the fallacy at the heart of intersex medical hypotheses.  Good outcomes are the result of interventions, poor ones must never be admitted as a consequence of those same interventions.

Medical science has a term for the negative consequences of medical intervention/s; it is iatrogenic trauma. The definition is acknowledged as adverse or unintended outcomes as a consequence of medical intervention.  The CAH critique is just the latest illustration of how clinicians in intersex medicine deny that possibility.

Psychological and mental health support for intersex individuals, and their families is only remarkable for it’s almost complete absence, despite being mandated by the very Consensus Statement that now drives medical orthodoxies in the clinical management of intersex variations. A severe response to trauma is PTSD.    PTSD amongst people who have endured intersex interventions is known about, but rarely acknowledged.  Medicine is, after all, supposed to assist and be helpful to a person’s situation, not harmful. To acknowledge traumas is to admit that interventions have harmed someone.   Intersex surgical/hormonal interventions are by their very nature non-consensual, medically unnecessary and designed solely to address social discomfiture at diversity within the spectrum of human development.  The protocols often contribute to the very traumas they are supposedly designed to eliminate.

Malta has shown that it is possible to adopt statutes that protect intersex people from the pre-emptive interventions that current orthodox protocols deem necessary.    People born intersex are entitled to the same rights of personal autonomy and bodily integrity as those who are not.  It is long overdue that the UK adopted the same protections that Malta now affords to intersex, trans and gender variant people of it’s population.