By on .

I am quite sure every empire that has ever bestrode the world believed it would last forever.

They never do.

The hubris that informs such sure and certain beliefs hold the seeds that hasten their downfall.

During 2005 a group of clinicians from around the world, and a single US activist, met in a Chicago hotel near the airport, and produced what became known as the Chicago Consensus Statement on Management of Intersex Disorders.

Disorders. That word alone caused all manner of controversy right from the get-go; so much so that clinicians and others will reach for other words instead – differences, variations.

The hegemonic authority of medical establishment rapidly adopted the protocols as *the* jurisdiction that reified medical power as a means of continuing the pathologising of intersex variation in human development.

Much has changed in attitudes, in those few years since it’s adoption. The assumptions contained within it’s pages have been increasingly subject to detailed enquiry by outside agencies – at the determined insistence of intersex advocates.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture issued a highly critical report, as has the Australian Senate after investigating the enforced and coercive sterilisation of intersex people; the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has been equally critical.

There is only one thing we can be sure of: nothing stays the same, and change always happens. Percy Bysshe Shelley had something to say about that.



I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.