The adoptive parents of an intersex child are suing the state of South Carolina for performing genital removal surgery in violation of the child’s constitutional rights.
Mark and Pam Crawford say that their child, identified as M.C., is now 8 years old and chooses to identify as a boy, despite doctors deciding that M.C. should be a girl at 16 months old. The couple say that they chose to adopt M.C., who was in state custody at the time of adoption, knowing about the intersex condition. “The first thought that I had was, lets make sure they don’t do the surgery,” Pam Crawford said in an audio recording posted to YouTube. Crawford said the surgery happened about three months before the adoption.
The lawsuit was filed by the SPLC. An intersex support group has issued a statement.
Although long-term outcomes of today’s genital surgeries in children have not been well-studied, many doctors and advocates recommend that children with intersex conditions be assigned a gender at birth, but postpone any unnecessary surgery until they are old enough to self-identify with a gender and make their own decisions about their bodies.
Intersex conditions can occur across a broad spectrum. The Intersex Society of North America has posted a listing of categories and how frequently they are believed to occur.