About 70 people affiliated with the advocate group Intersex Justice Project (IJP) gathered outside of a Chicago children’s hospital on July 19, protesting against “corrective” — and "medically unnecessary" — surgeries on intersex patients that are too young to consent.
The surgeries can also cause nerve damage, incontinence, and sterilization, said the Human Rights Watch. They have been condemned by the World Health Organization and Physicians for Human Rights, among others.
Pidgeon Pagonis, a prominent intersex activist, attended the protest and talked about their three surgeries at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago as a child. Although the hospital is praised for its 2016 trans-inclusive policy, Pagonis’ treatment was harmful and explained as necessary to get rid of a cancer that they did not have, they said.
“With trans patients, they really defer to the patient to decide what they would like to do with their body and work with them accordingly. And that’s all we’re asking. We’re asking for children who are born with variations of sexual anatomy, for them to have the opportunity to decide what they want to do with their own bodies,” intersex activist and protest participant Sean Saifa Wall said, according to INTO.