In current debates on marriage equality, it’s usually assumed intersex people will gain equal rights when gay marriage has been legalized or that they already have equal rights. Unfortunately though, neither is the case.
You may have heard the word cisgender before, but you may not know what it means. Cisgender is a term used to describe people who, for the most part, identify as the gender they were assigned at birth. For example, if a doctor said “it’s a boy!” when you were born, and you identify as a man, then you could be described as cisgender. In other words, ‘cisgender’ is used to describe people who are not transgender.
So why do we say ‘cisgender’ instead of ‘non-transgender’? Because, referring to cisgender people as ‘non trans’ implies that cisgender people are the default and that being trans is abnormal. Many people have said ‘transgender people’ and ‘normal people’, but when we say ‘cisgender’ and ‘transgender’ neither is implied as more normal than the other.
Using the word ‘cisgender’ is also an educational tool. To simply define people as ‘non-trans’ implies that only transgender people have a gender identity. But that’s not true. Like sexual orientation, race, class, and many other identities, all of us have a gender identity.
Language is important; it defines human relationships. That is why it’s important use language of equality and inclusion.
ExxonMobil shareholders will meet Wednesday to discuss adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the company’s employment nondiscrimination policy.
Some activists are planning to protest outside the hall where the shareholders will be voting. Because Obama hasn’t signed an executive order mandating that companies that do business with the federal government protect their LGBT employees, individual policies are still needed in many cases.
“ExxonMobil’s failure to include sexual orientation and gender identity in its written equal employment policy has made the company an outlier among its peers,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli told Dallas Voice in an email.
“From a shareholder’s perspective, this policy means that ExxonMobil isn’t able to attract and retain the best talent to come work for the company and puts its reputation in harm’s way. Until it addresses this issue of discrimination, we don’t feel that ExxonMobil will be getting the best performance to benefit our holdings in the company.”
There is no excuse for any company to ever treat its employees differently based on something like sexual orientation or gender identity. I hope the people in charge here do the right thing.
LGBTQ folks, people of color, and women all began the struggle to be seen as human and to be respected and treated equally. The time has come for a similar revolution and rights for people with mental health concerns. We will never back down.
M. Osborn (via affairofthepoisons)
The EEOC opinion was issued without objection by the 5-member bipartisan commission. It will apply to all EEOC enforcement and litigation including all 53 field offices and be binding on all federal agencies and departments.
[T]he Commission hereby clarifies that claims of discrimination based on transgender status, also referred to as claims of discrimination based on gender identity, are cognizable under Title VII’s sex discrimination prohibition ….
Masen Davis, head of the Transgender Law Center (TLC), says the decision is a ”big leap forward.” TLC advocates, who brought Macy’s case, note that after today’s ruling transgender people who feel they have faced employment discrimination can go into any of those 53 offices and the EEOC will consider their claims. What’s more, the EEOC could take action itself to sue the employer for discrimination.
Given the incredibly high rate of employment discrimination facing transgender people, this is incredibly significant for us. Data from the National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that 78 percent of transgender Americans say they’ve experienced workplace discrimination at some point in time. Given that transgender people do not have employment protections in the vast majority of states, this creates a whole new fabric of legal support for our community.
—Masen Davis, Transgender Law Center
Mia Macy went through a background check for a job as a ballistics technician with ATF, having applied when she was living as a male.
Within three days after my background [check] was completed and they alerted the lab that Mia would be coming to work, I was notified that the position was no longer available — even though I was certified and trained for the job.
Then they hired someone else for the position.
We hear from 1,500 people a year who are experiencing discrimination, and our attorneys work every day to help out everyone who calls and make sure they have the legal information and support they need to be successful. Sometimes we hear from people who have suffered such egregious discrimination that we have to put every resource into righting a wrong. And, in this case, we heard from Mia Macy, who was so clearly discriminated against — somebody who had been so clearly qualified for a job that she had every right … and we had every responsibility to bring this case forward.
ATF claimed that Title VII protection was not available to Macy because it did not apply to transgender employees. TLC appealed to the EEOC last December, asking for a clarification of the law.
Historically we have not done so well. Back in 1974 Ramona Holloway was fired by the accounting firm Arthur Anderson and Company after informing her employer that she was taking hormones and intended to transition. She brought suit. The Ninth Circuit noted that an official at the company told Holloway she would be happier in a job someplace where nobody knew her transgender status. After she asked that her name be changed in company records, she was fired.
The Ninth Circuit looked at Title VII and the amendments to it generated during the passage of the Equal Opportunity Act of 1972, and the court decided that “the provisions were intended to place women on an equal footing with men”, reasoning that Congress had no intent to apply it to anything but “traditional notions of ‘sex’”.
In 1989 Price Waterhouse v Hopkins changed the playing field. Ann Hopkins sued for sex discrimination because she was not offered a partnership with the firm. She had been told her chances for attaining partner status would be improved if she “[w]ould ‘walk more femininely, talk more femininely, dress more femininely, wear make-up, have her hair styled, and wear jewelry.’”
Describing Title VII, the court noted the words in the statute prohibiting sex discrimination and concluded, ”We take these words to mean that gender must be irrelevant to employment decisions.”
In Oncale v Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc, SCOTUS changed the playing field again. Oncale was a man subjected to sex abuse by his peer crew members on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, having been “physically assaulted … in a sexual manner” and threatened with rape. Justice Scalia noted that male-on-male sexual harassment was assuredly not the concern of Congress when passing Title VII, but “statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonably comparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed.”
The reasoning in Holloway had now been completely undermined. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2004 heard the case of Jimmie Smith (Smith v Salem, OH) who was a lieutenant in the fire department suspended in retaliation for hiring a lawyer after officials learned of his plans to transition.
[D]iscrimination against a plaintiff who is a transsexual — and therefore fails to act and/or identify with his or her gender — is no different from the discrimination directed against Ann Hopkins in Price Waterhouse, who, in sex-stereotypical terms, did not act like a woman.
Then this past December the 11th Circuit decided that Vandiver Elizabeth Glenn (Glenn v Bumbry) was discriminated against after being fired because her boss felt her transition was “unnatural”.
Applying other courts’ Title VII analysis to Glenn’s claim brought under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, the three-judge panel held, ”We conclude that a government agent violates the Equal Protection Clause’s prohibition of sex-based discrimination when he or she fires a transgender or transsexual employee because of his or her gender non-conformity.”
About two months before Glenn was decided, the EEOC sought to file an amicus curiae brief in Pacheco v Freedom Buick GMC Truckin Texas. Alex Pacheco was fired from her job as receptionist shortly after beginning hormones and disclosing her wish to present as a female at work.
The brief contained the following:
In Price Waterhouse, the Supreme Court recognized that Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination ‘because of … sex’ means ‘that gender must be irrelevant to employment decisions.”’ It went on to note the ”discrimination based on a failure to conform to stereotypical gender norms” is thus prohibited and concluding that ”if an employer were to take an adverse employment action because an employee’s gender identity is not consistent with the employee’s biological sex, the employer would be discriminating ‘because of … sex.
In Pacheco, the trial judge denied the EEOC request as moot after he denied the employer’s motion for summary judgment. The parties then reached an out-of-court settlement.
So it was not until Macy that the EEOC had the opportunity to speak out:
When an employer discriminates against someone because the person is transgender, the employer has engaged in disparate treatment related to the sex of the victim. This is true regardless of whether an employer discriminates against an employee because the individual has expressed his or her gender in a non-stereotypical fashion, because the employer is uncomfortable with the fact that the person has transitioned or is in the process of transitioning from one gender to another, or because the employer simply does not like that the person is identifying as a transgender person.
The parties in the case now have 30 days to ask the EEOC to reconsider its opinion.
This is huge. This is a real sea change. ‘To have just a clear, definitive EEOC ruling that Title VII protects transgender people gives us so much more certainty and security and solid, reliable legal protection. For decades now, advocates and scholars both have been saying Title VII should be applied to protect transgender people. And now, to have the EEOC confirm that, ‘Yes … Title VII should and does protect transgender people when they’re discriminated against because they’ve changed their sex or intend to change their sex or because they’re gender nonconforming. That is sex discrimination.’ That is really an important capstone.
—Shannon Minter, National Center for Lesbian Rights
…big leap forward in the journey to equality. ’It is the game-changer, asserting that transgender people can bring claims at EEOC offices across the country.
The decision sends Macy’s case back to the ATF Office of Equal Opportunity for resolution.
It sends a really strong message to all employers and I think will have a dramatic impact on business culture. This has such a strong legitimating impact in many different arenas.
Both Davis and Minter say that this does not reduce the need for ENDA because it has no impact on sexual-orientation discrimination and many transpeople will still be mistreated in the workplace because people think trans means gay.
And it is always possibly, though not likely, that some SCOTUS ruling culd overturn the EEOC decision.
Discrimination against transgender people in the workplace remains at unacceptably high levels, but we’re hopeful that with a positive ruling from the EEOC, transgender people across the country will now know that they are in fact protected by federal law if they’re denied a job or fired just because of who they are. And that’s a really big deal.
As a veteran and a police officer, I’ve worked my whole career to uphold the values of fairness and equality. Although the discrimination I experienced was painful both personally and financially, and led to the loss of my family’s home to foreclosure, I’m proud to be a part of this groundbreaking decision confirming that our nation’s employment discrimination laws protect all Americans, including transgender people. I’m grateful for the help of Transgender Law Center, which believed in me from the start and helped guide me through this process. No one should be denied a job just for being who they are.
When communities try to keep corporations from engaging in activities they don’t want, they often find they don’t have the legal power to say “no.” Why? Because our current legal structure too often protects the “rights” of corporations over the rights of actual human beings.
If we are to elevate our rights and the rights of our communities above those of a corporate few, we, too, need to transform the way laws work.
As we wrote in Turning Occupation into Lasting Change, mainstream progressive groups have failed by constraining their activities within legal and regulatory systems purposefully structured to subordinate communities to corporate power. Truly effective movements don’t operate that way. Abolitionists never sought to regulate the slave trade; they sought to transform the legal structure that supported it by treating slaves as property rather than people under the law. Suffragists did the same with the legal status of women.
The template is based on real laws already passed from the municipal to the national level—from Pittsburgh stripping drilling corporations of Constitutional “rights” to Ecuador including legal rights for nature in its Constitution.
This style of organizing moves away from traditional activism—mired in letter writing campaigns and lowest common denominator federal and state legislation—toward a new activism in which communities claim the right to make their own decisions, directly.
To help them do so, we’re offering the model Community Bill of Rights template below, a legislative template for communities that want to protect their own rights. It’s based on real laws already passed from the municipal to the national level—from Pittsburgh stripping drilling corporations of Constitutional “rights” to Ecuador including legal rights for nature in its Constitution. Think of the template as a menu to pick and choose what’s important in your community. It’s meant to provide a framework and a starting point, not necessarily to be used in its entirety.
Passing a new bill of rights is a way for activists to “occupy” their cities with new legal structures that empower community majorities over corporate minorities, rather than the other way around.
Community Bill of Rights of [your city]
Section 1 - Authority
This Community Bill of Rights is enacted pursuant to the inherent right of the residents of the City of [your city] to govern their own community, including, without limitation, the Declaration of Independence’s declaration that governments are instituted to secure the rights of people, and the [your state] Constitution’s recognition that all political power is inherent in the people.
Section 2 - Findings and Purpose
Whereas, the citizens of [your city] recognize that environmental and economic sustainability cannot be achieved if the rights of municipal majorities are routinely overridden by corporate minorities claiming certain legal powers; and Whereas, the citizens of [your city] believe that local legislation that embodies the interests of the community is mandated by the doctrine of the consent of the governed, and the right to local, community self-government; Whereas, the citizens of [your city] believe that the protection of residents, neighborhoods, and the natural environment constitutes the highest and best use of the police powers that this municipality possesses; Therefore, the residents of the city of [your city] hereby adopt this ordinance which creates a community bill of rights for the residents and communities of the City, and removes certain legal powers from corporations operating within the City of [your city].
Section 3 - Statements of Law - A Community Bill of Rights
3.1. The Right to a Locally-Based Economy Residents have the right to a locally-based economy to ensure local job creation and enhance local business opportunities. The right shall include the right to have local monies reinvested locally by lending institutions, and the right to equal access to capital, credit, contracts, incentives, and services for businesses owned by [your city] residents.
3.2. The Right To Affordable And Safe Housing Residents have the right to affordable housing, the right to a safely-maintained dwelling, and the right to be free from housing discrimination. The City shall ensure the availability of low-income housing stock sufficient to meet the needs of the low-income housing community. People and families may only be denied renting or buying of a dwelling for non-discriminatory reasons and may only be evicted from their residence for non-discriminatory causes.
3.3. The Right To Affordable Preventive Health Care Residents have the right to affordable preventive health care. For residents otherwise unable to access such care, the City shall guarantee such access by coordinating with area health care providers to create affordable fee-for-service programs within eighteen (18) months following adoption of this provision.
3.4. Rights for Nature Ecosystems and natural communities within the City of [your city] possess inalienable rights to exist and flourish. The rights of rivers, streams, and aquifers shall include the right to sustainable recharge, flows sufficient to protect native fish habitat, and clean water. The City of [your city] and any resident of the City or group of residents have standing to enforce and protect these rights.
3.5. Right to Water All residents, natural communities and ecosystems in [your city] possess a fundamental and inalienable right to sustainably access, use, consume, and preserve water drawn from natural water cycles that provide water necessary to sustain life within the City.
3.6. Right to Sustainable Food System All residents of [your city] possess a fundamental and inalienable right to access, use, consume, produce and distribute foods generated from sustainable farming practices, and to be free of infection, or infestation or drift by any means, from genetically engineered life forms or genetically modified organisms.
3.7. The Right To Affordable And Renewable Energy Residents have the right to access affordable and renewable energy sources.
3.8. Right to Constitutional Protections in the Workplace Employees shall possess United States and [your state] Bill of Rights’ constitutional protections in the workplace within the City of [your city], and workers in unionized workplaces shall possess the right to collective bargaining.
3.9. Right to Determine the Future of Neighborhoods Neighborhood majorities shall have the right to approve all zoning changes proposed for their neighborhood involving significant commercial, industrial, or residential development. It shall be the responsibility of the proposer of the zoning change to acquire the approval of the neighborhood majority, and the zoning change shall not be effective without it.
3.10. Right to a Free, Open and Accessible Internet (a) All residents of the City of [your city] shall possess the right to a free and open internet, which shall include, but not be limited to, the right to access, use, send, post, receive, or offer lawful content, applications, or services of the user’s choice. (b) All residents of the City of [your city] shall possess the right to be free from provider service and performance level discrimination based on the identity, source or type of individual content or service providers.
3.11. Right to a Citizen Managed and Accountable Police Force All residents of the City of [your city] have a right to a police force managed by a civilian police chief held fully accountable by an elected panel of citizens.
3.12. Right to Clean and Fair Elections Free from Corporate Interference Residents of [your city] possess the right to fair elections, which shall include the right to an electoral process free from corporate involvement.
3.13. Right to Clean Government Residents of [your city] have the right to clean government, which shall include the right to a City legislative process free from corporate lobbying and involvement.
3.14. Right to Marriage Equality Residents of [your city] have the right to gender-neutral marriages for both same- and opposite-sex couples.
Section 4 - Prohibitions and Corporate Legal Privileges
4.1. Prohibition on Corporate Personhood and Privileges Corporations and other business entities which violate the rights secured by this Community Bill of Rights shall not be deemed to be “persons,” afforded by the United States and [your state] Constitutions, nor possess any other legal rights, privileges, powers, or protections which would interfere with the enforcement of rights enumerated by this Charter.
4.2. Ban on Electioneering It shall be unlawful for any corporation to make a contribution or expenditure to influence any election within the City of [your city].
4.3. Ban on Lobbying It shall be unlawful for any corporation to communicate with an elected official within the City of [your city] urging support or opposition to pending legislation. This ban shall not be construed to prohibit open forum communications between corporate lobbyists and elected officials.
Section 5 - People’s Right to Self Government
All residents of [your city] possess the fundamental and inalienable right to a form of governance where they live which recognizes that all power is inherent in the people, that all free governments are founded on the people’s authority and consent, and that corporate entities and their directors and managers shall not enjoy special privileges or powers under the law which make community majorities subordinate to them.
Section 6 - Enforcement
6.1. The City of [your city] may enforce this Community Bill of Rights through an action in equity brought in the [your court of jurisdiction]. In such an action, the City of [your city] shall be entitled to recover all costs of litigation, including, without limitation, expert and attorney’s fees.
6.2. Any resident of [your city] shall have the authority to enforce this Community Bill of Rights through an action in equity brought in the [your court of jurisdiction]. In such an action, the resident shall be entitled to recover all costs of litigation, including, without limitation, expert and attorney’s fees.
Section 7 - Severability
The provisions of this Community Bill of Rights are severable. If any court of competent jurisdiction decides that any section, clause, sentence, part, or provision of this Ordinance is illegal, invalid, or unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect, impair, or invalidate any of the remaining sections, clauses, sentences, parts, or provisions of the Community Bill of Rights.
Section 8 - Repealer
All inconsistent provisions of prior Ordinances adopted by the City of [your city] are hereby repealed, but only to the extent necessary to remedy the inconsistency.
This model was developed by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. You can learn more about CELDF’s theory of change, its democracy school educational programs on corporate power and its global organizing efforts for community rights at their website: www.celdf.org. You can also find the model Community Bill of Rights template for Occupy Communities as a google docor as a pdf.
Thomas Linzey and Jeff Reifman wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Thomas Linzey is the Executive Director of theCommunity Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit law firm which provides legal assistance to communities struggling to protect community self-government and the natural environment from corporate decision-making. Jeff Reifman is co-founder of Envision Seattle, a rights-building effort modeled after CELDF’s work. He’s also a technologist, freelance writer and organizer.
Let me start this letter by applauding your courage to stand up and defend your beliefs in the face of bullying bigots pervading the talk show scene of Pakistani television channels and discussing issues of importance that are often swept under the carpet, the pretext being issues such as nudity, gay rights and secularism being irrelevant to a country where people are struggling to survive on the daily basis or them being Western imports. How very convenient, is it not,to denounce the logical extensions leading from our cherished deals of humanity and democracy, albeit unacceptble to guardians of honor and shame, under the subterfuge of real politik and realistic grounds.
But what is repugnant is not how guardians of tradition and self proclaimed saviors of faith have no sense of a reasonable dialogue but the way they have taken to pose threats to lives of Pakistani journalists. It is preposterous that certain people should be condemned to death for voicing their peaceful protests in favor of need for reason, sanity and humanity to prevail in a country where ‘holier than thou’ mentality has seeped in,while certain others share fair amount of on air time to spew hatred against religious and sexual minorities, wihout being held accountble for the damage their hate filled speeches might do to members of the concerned communities being targeted. It becomes all the more of a worrying factor in a ‘post-Salmaan Taseer’ Pakistan where everyone of us deems it his responsibility to save Islamic order from alleged youth corrupting western intoxicated agents on the pay rolls of foreign governments and agencies, the allegations being mere delusional with out evidence, of course.
But you are not alone Ms. Sirmed. Given the fact that Pakistan rates as the worst country for journalists, I’d say you, along with Mr.Hamid Mir and Mr.Najam Sethi, are in a good company(in fact Mr. Sethi’s recent discussion of threats from state and non-state actors was alaming). However the fact remains that this nation can not afford to lose yet another Saleem Shehzad.
We have sacrificed far too many lives for a ‘free’ Pakistan to end up as a sham democracy where, as you stated in your note on Let Us Build Pakistan blog, instead of taking any action to protect you, an eminent Punjabi politician calls up your father and informs the old man how a militant group has decided to ‘eliminate’ you. So much for democracy.
Pakistani Journalist and Human Rights Activist, Marvi Sirmed
What is outrageous is the way your family is having to deal with the situation. Being stopped by self righteous individuals on streets to be told how one ought to be ashamed of raising a daughter who defends immorality is enough to put one under extreme mental duress. Even more so for a man of seventy. How can one blame your family for publicly disowning you, no matter how heart wrenching it was.
I can relate to your concerns for your family. Often there are times when I think twice before voicing my opinion, my birth right to protest against what I deem unjust. Not because I am concerned about my well being for the day I chose to take a firm stance, I picked up the other end of the stick as well, knowing full well the repercussions of honesty in a country like Pakistan.
But Ms.Sirmed this is not only about you, Mr. Sethi or Mr. Mir. It is about the basic freedom of free expression no matter how much we disagree with one another. About facing the discriminatory world and defending what is just and humane. About fighting ‘hate speech’, which our ‘free’ media and nascent democracy has still not been able to demarcate from ‘freedom of expression’. About the troubles that we have to face, that we must ensure are not there for our children so that they can reach their optimum potential and work for the betterment of the world instead of trying to figure out the next best survival tactic. It is against the message of the moral police, the ghairat brigade,if you may, to the youth of Pakistan. A message of subjugation, hate and fear. And thus the need to take a stand.
Might seem like rants of a brainwashed tweeter who wouldn’t do anything expect rant. But the fact that 29 journalists have been killed in last 5 years in relation to their work, might make you think otherwise
Let me clearly state that I have disagreements with you. And you may not subscribe to my opinions, ideals and thoughts. But that is the beauty of democratic ideals. We all hold some small part of the objective reality and it is only through reason and dialogues and constructive criticisms that at the end of the day we may still be having a peripheral vision of truth, goodness and reality, but we are still somewhat more closer to them than before.
But alas, how difficult it is to explain it to the defenders of faithful bigotry. You are right to argue that these hooligans know nothing of the humane underlying principles of Islam, and in fact of any religion in the world. For understanding the verses they so often quote in the socio-historical context would be a direct blow to their political ambitions and power dominations. It is to save Pakistan from such sub-humans that we must continue speaking for what is humane, regardless of our differences.
It is a fight not only for Pakistani Liberals but every sane Pakistani out there whether conservative or secularist as the threat looms over the head of us all by letting militant organizations and terrorist student wings of political parties operate effectively while the politicians pander to the voters on the ‘democracy is the best revenge’ and anti corruption slogans and the religious ulema decry the discrimination faced b Muslims by being tagged as terrorists who can not be integrated into open and democratic non-Muslim societies, arguing for the compatibility of Islam and democratic principles.
Leave the utter idiocy reeking off the comments, there should be a prized challenge for NOT laughing at the English used (if you call THAT English!)
Why should Muslims , and this case Pakistani ones, not be tagged as terrorists and religiously motivated self righteous thugs, Ms.Sirmed, if it is them posing death threats with the most spiteful and vilest language one could imagine to anyone breaking the spell of bad traditions and misuse of religion’s name and rule f the deep state? Is it not the Muslim world which is boiling with anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism and racism? Of course this is not a letter in defense of the likes of Pamela Gellar whose bread and butter depends on spewing hate against and fears of Muslims. But these are some thoughts worth pondering over. If Muslims, in general, and Pakistanis, in particular, all over the world wish to change the perception regarding their communities, they must speak out and walk the walk, instead of empty talks, including the so called ‘moderate’ elements within the societies. No 21st century open, humane and democratic state ought to allow violation of its citizen’s rights to life, security, free expression et al.
BEWARE: Very political, this post might upset you or make you think!
The society that we are living in with all its discourses of power/knowledge wants to make us believe that there are only two sexes. But what if this wasn’t so? What if there are as Gilles Deleuze once famously proclaimed “a tiny thousand sexes”. What if 1 in 1000 or 10 000 newborn infants were intersexed, meaning that we couldn’t put the child in our neat little categories of male or female? What would our mostly Western societies be capable of doing in order to make them disappear? Because if we want to believe that there are only two sexes and such an inconvenient thing as an intersex person comes along and threatens to overthrow our belief system the easiest way of dealing with that problem is to make it disappear. Would they (different discourses, for example the state, the law, the medical establishment, the parents etc.) go so far and operate on that child, against its will to normalize it. Would they mutilate it’s genitals and sexual reproduction organs?
Yes, they all would. They all do!
The medical discourse constructs intersex people as an anomaly and this anomaly, this pathology has to be normalized- has to be taken care of- this is what medicine as a discourse according to Michael Foucault did from the very beginning. The discourse categorizes who and what is normal and who/what not and what then can be done to “cure” it.
The law- in Germany at least- tries to enforce that there are only two sexes too. This can be exemplified by the law (§ 12 BGB) and it’s guidelines that state that a child can’t be given an ambivalent first name. The first name of a child has to be either clearly female or male. No ambivalence is allowed. The law doesn’t state though that intersexed children have to be operated on, but it also doesn’t explicitly forbid it either.
The parents are often persuaded by doctors to allow the various “procedures” (read: mutilations) because otherwise the child will have a very hard time in this society and “we wouldn’t want to make the child feel like it is different”. They never seem to question that the child might only have such a hard time because of people like them.
These mutilations are justified by saying that it’s for the child’s own good. But is it really?
What about the hard childhood because they might have to operate on you more than once?
What about the adolescence in which you have to take hormones?
What about if no one ever really tells you what’s “wrong” with you but you know that you are somewhat different? After all other children don’t have to go to the hospital and take pills like you.
What about if because of these “procedures” you were only partly able to feel sexual pleasure because of numbness of some of the skin?
What about they never tell you and you have the feeling you are in the wrong body and finally decide to change your sex until you find out that they turned you into that body in the first place? You had a vagina/penis or a mixture of both but your parents preferred a son/daughter – or the doctor said “it’s easier to dig a hole than build a pole”? Thus you were turned into your body.
How would you feel?
Cheated, Angry, Hurt, Sad, Betrayed?
You had/have to go through all this just because people don’t want you to exist.
You have to because
Medicine decided that you are a not normal and the doctors want to try out fancy new techniques of sex reassignment surgery.
Your parents are too easily convinced because they only want your “best” and are thus complicit with the medical establishment.
The law acknowledges you only as male or female but not as neither or both.
We ( the Western nations) with our firm belief in human rights always point our finger at Africa and condemn the crimes of female genital mutilation that are committed in the name of tradition or religion. But we are actually doing exactly the same! The human right to psychical integrity/inviolability is violated either way.
Under German law (§ 2 GG) this right means that because of the human free will- any person has the right to decide what happens with his_her* (by writing in such a manner I try to make the existence of intersex and transgendered people visible) body and that you have to prove that a person no longer can execute this free will before you can for example operate on him_her*. The law also states that if you nevertheless do it you are committing a crime (§223 and § 226 StGB) and in case of, for example children, it can be interpreted as abuse or misuse of the duty to shield children from any harm.
If we have this law, why then are intersex people still operated out of existence? Why are we still waging a genocide against them?
Because according to the state there are so few?
Because we think we have the right to take their human right to bodily integrity away from them because they are not normal? Because we pathologies and construct them as such in the first place?
Because we can’t deal with the fact that “reality” is more diverse than we want it to be?
Because we are afraid of everything that threatens our “illusion” of two distinct sexes and that we would have to change our way of relating to the opposite sex(es) and to each other?
We are all part of this society and it’s not an abstract thing. Society lives and is re-produced through each of us and our deeds. We do society in our everyday life and can thus (help to) change it! The private (what we do and how we think) is political!
What’s your excuse (of letting this genocide happen)?