Dr. Sherman Leis: Let Intersex Children Choose

| Feb 8, 2016
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Children With Ambiguous Genitalia Should be Given Time to Decide Which Gender They Identify With

(Philadelphia, PA) – Children with intersex conditions — those born with genital ambiguity – should be allowed time for their brains and gender identity to develop naturally before their gender is decided, says Dr. Sherman Leis, renowned transgender surgeon and the founder of The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery.

“Parents and medical practitioners must take care before approving gender confirmation surgery, or transgender surgery, at an age that is too young,” he said. Dr. Leis cites prior research that indicates people with intersex conditions, especially children, are often raised as one gender but identify with another gender later in life. Though declaring a gender shortly after birth is often easier on parents and is meant to mitigate gender identity confusion, this is not necessarily always the case for all children.

“Essentially, assigning a child a gender before their brain and identity is even able to develop is surgical enforcement,” says Dr. Leis. “Though a person may spend his or her childhood with gender ambiguous genitals, it is ultimately the child’s decision to decide what his or her gender identity is.”

“My practice requires a rigorous protocol for transgender individuals wishing to transition, and we typically do not operate on patients under 16 years of age,” says Dr. Leis. “Children born with genital ambiguity should follow the same protocol.”

Researchers indicate that intersex conditions affect 1 in every 2,000 children. Typically, when a child is born with intersex conditions, a pediatric urologist is the primary individual providing medical consultation to parents. The complication with this is that the doctors performing genital surgery shortly after the child’s birth do not specialize in gender reassignment. This not only leads to questions of gender identity later in life, but can cause a number of complications with the genitals.

Dr. Sherman Leis is one of the world’s pre-eminent transgender surgeons and founder of The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery, located in Bala Cynwyd, PA. It is recognized as one of the leading facilities in the world specializing in gender reassignment surgery.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


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