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Tuesday 11 April 2017

Chile Bans Intersex Surgery

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 11th April 2016

Since I reported on the recent legislative ban on infantile intersex 'remedial' surgery in Malta last year, there have been some important concurrent and subsequent developments- one in Germany, one in Chile.

In Germany, Christiane Volling successfully sought damages against her medical practitioner for non-consensual surgical procedures. Volling had been born with XX sex chromosomes, but also with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, which led to her attribution as male. She was brought up as male, and had an early puberty with assertive signs of male gender, including beard growth. At fourteen, while having surgery for appendicitus, she was observed to also have internal female organs, such as ovaries and fallopian tubes, and was described as sixty percent female at the time. However, she was not informed of this at the time, and had an ovarectomy to remove the superfluous organs (sic). Volling did not discover this until 2006, at which point she had transitioned to live as a woman. At the Regional Court of Cologne, the doctor had been found not to have acted on the basis of grave threat to health or acute risks and that he should have disclosed full information about Christiane's second set of sexual characteristics. Accordingly, the Regional Court found for Christiane in Re: Volling (2008). Fortunately for Christiane, she filed for damages just before she might have become ineligible under Germany's Statute of Limitations.

Although the Re: Volling case occurred several years ago, Chile's progressive move took place in January 2016. At that point, Chile's Ministry of Health decided to suspend all further permission for 'corrective' infantile intersexed surgical intervention. Andraes River Duarte and Camilo Godoy from the International Observatory for Human Rights were responsible for this measure, as in 2015, the Observatory had appealed to the United Nations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, arguing that the right of intersexed infants to bodily integrity were being infringed.


Re: Volling (2008):http://icj.wpengine. ads/2008/02/In-re-Volling- Regional-Court-Cologne- Germany-English.pdf

"Chilean Government stops the 'normalisation' of intersexed children"Outright:January 2016:https://www. outrightinternational.or g/content/chilean-government- stops-normalization-intersex- children

Craig Young - 11th April 2016

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