UN Aims to End Forced Sterilsation of Trans* & Intersex People

World

The World Health Organisation, in conjunction with several subsidies of the United Nations, has issued a new report and statement calling for the elimination of forced sterilization.

The report includes details of particular groups of people who have been forced or coerced into sterilization, including girls and women from ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, HIV positive people and trans* and intersex people.

The report stated that “transgender and often also intersex persons are required to undergo sterilization surgeries that are often unwanted, as a prerequisite to receiving gender-affirmative treatment and gender-marker changes.

“… these sterilization requirements run counter to respect for bodily integrity, self-determination and human dignity, and can cause and perpetuate discrimination against transgender and intersex persons.”

The report also explained that intersex children are often subjected to “so-called sex-normalizing”, during infancy and early childhood. Such procedures may be performed without their informed consent or that of their parents, and can have irreversible lifelong consequences for the physical, mental and reproductive health.

The report states that a number of human rights organisations and ethical bodies recommend that free and informed consent should be ensured in medical procedures for intersex people, and that where possible invasive and irreversible procedures should be postponed until a child is sufficiently able to make an informed decision with full consent. It is also recommended that health practitioners should be trained in gender and body diversity, and that they properly inform patients and their parents about the consequences of surgical and other medical interventions.

The guiding principles for these guidelines include allowing autonomy for people regarding their own reproductive health, access to information, support and medical records as well as ensuring non-discrimination. The report states that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is a human rights violation, and that transgender and intersex people should have access to contraceptive services including sterilization without coercion or discrimination. The report also recommended the removal of laws the require compulsory sterilization of transgender people.

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