Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A whole new way of being

Gender selection a tough topic, author says; fiction title centres on intersex birth
The Telegram

"What happens if it's less than that?"

"When a phallus is less than one point five centimetres, give or take seven hundredths of a centimetre -"

"Seven hundredths?"

"Yes. When it's less than that, we remove the presentation of male aspects and later, during adolescence, we sculpt the female aspects."

"What if it's right in the middle? Right straight, smack dab down the precise centre? One point five centimetres with no seven hundredths."

"Then we make an educated guess. We do endocrinological tests but really, in a newborn, as far as endocrinology goes, we're making a best estimate. Penis size at birth is the primary criterion for assessing a gender."

"Measure her, then."

- A mother and doctor speak about an intersex child, in an excerpt from the novel "Annabel" by Kathleen Winter.

Complete article: Click here

Saturday, June 19, 2010

We need to talk about IGM…

June 18, 2010

A couple of days ago, Alice Dreger and Ellen K. Feder jointly posted a brief article (Bad Vibrations) on the Bioethics Forum of the Hastings Center’s website.

The piece picked up on an earlier article, Nerve Sparing Ventral Clitoroplasty: Analysis of Clitoral Sensitivity and ViabilityPDF here – published in 2007 by Jennifer Yang (a pediatric urologist), Diane Felsen (a pharmacologist) and Dix P. Poppas, M.D in The Journal of Urology.

Dreger and Feder’s piece focuses attention on Dr Poppas, a pediatric urologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Medical College of Cornell University whose “special interest in genital reconstruction [and] surgical aspects of disorders of sexual development” has apparently led him to carry out a program of research on 51 girls aged between 4 months and 24 years old (mean age ± SD 4.6 ± 6.8 years) in which he performed nerve sparing ventral clitoroplasty, which included “followup testing of clitoral viability and sensation after clitoroplasty“.

Read the complete article: Click here

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cornell doctor sliced young girls’ genitals

Cornell doctor sliced young girls’ genitals; Tested girls as young as six with vibrator, columnist says

By David Edwards

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

A Cornell doctor is performing partial clitoris removal on young girls and then using a vibrator to test their sensation in follow-up tests, a shocking column by syndicated columnist Dan Savage asserted Wednesday.

Dr. Dix P. Poppas has been performing the procedure on girls older than five for several years, according to 2007 paper (PDF) documenting the research. The doctor and patients' parents allegedly believe that the girls' clitorises are too large and create too much sensation.

Complete article: Click here

See also:

After Cutting Little Girls' Clitorises, Ivy League Doctor Tests Handiwork With a Vibrator

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gina Wilson – Discovering One’s Intersex Self.

Activist’s anger as Malawian’s gender is misreported

A trans activist has attacked the media for referring to a Malawian put on trial for homosexuality as a man rather than a trans woman.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Church says Alterina’s marriage illegal

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 06/07/2010 9:46 AM | Jakarta

The Indonesian Bishops' Council (KWI) has declared the controversial marriage of transgender Alterina Hofan illegal, kompas.com reported on Monday.

KWI secretary Benny Susetyo said the Catholic Church could not accept the marriage and suggested that Alterina should seek medication rather than changing her sex status.

“The Catholic Church bans marriage between people of the same sex,” Benny said, adding that the KWI deemed Alterina had defied her nature.

Alterina has the rare Klinefelter’s syndrome which gives him an extra X chromosome, making him look more effeminate. After years of operations, he documented himself as a man and even married Jane Hadipoespito.

Benny said the health problem could not justify the change in sex status. “Her DNA and genetics prove she is female, therefore she can be medically cured,” the priest said.

He suggested that the state should regulate the issue of same-sex marriage as it could create more social problems in the future.

Jane’s parents denounced the marriage, filing a lawsuit against Alterina for fraud because he had previously declared he was a woman on his identity card. Alterina is facing a seven-year imprisonment for the alleged fraud.

Boy Listed As Girl Is Really a Boy, Doctors, Census Takers Say

Candra Malik

Boy Listed As Girl Is Really a Boy, Doctors, Census Takers Say

Semarang, Central Java. A 15-year-old who has struggled to be recognized as a boy for years can officially do so now, having undergone intensive examinations at Dr. Karyadi Hospital in Semarang.

The hospital concluded on Thursday that Maemunah, who is listed as a girl in his birth certificate, has the requisite sexual organs to prove he is indeed a boy, and there no longer needs to be any confusion over the matter.

Maemunah’s case became public recently after census takers were confused as to how to list gender of the young resident of Banyumas, Central Java. Maemunah insisted when questioned by census takers that he was a boy, even though he is listed as a girl on the birth certificate.

Dr. Ardy Santosa, a urologist at Karyadi Hospital, confirmed that although official hospital examination results had yet to be released, he could safely conclude that Maemunah, alias Mei Pur nomo, is indeed male.

“We still have to wait for the results of chromosome testing, but I can safely conclude that Mei is male. He has a penis,” Dr. Ardy told the Jakarta Globe.

Maemunah underwent tests at Karyadi Hospital to find out whether he has Klinefelter’s syndrome, which causes male genitalia to develop late.

Klinefelter’s syndrome, according to Indra G Mansur, a University of Indonesia andrologist, is a chromosomal disorder affecting males that causes them to look like females.

Maemunah underwent a series of medical examinations, including ultrasonography and chromosome testing.

“He definitely has a penis and we are also checking his testicular function. We will check the levels of the hormone testosterone to explore whether Mei’s sperm can fertilize ova or not,” Ardy said.

He said preliminary examinations showed that Maemunah suffered from partial androgen insensitivity syndrome. PAIS is a rare inherited condition in which babies biologically intended to be boys fail to show full normal male development because their bodies are unable to respond normally to male hormones, otherwise known as androgens — these are the chemical signals secreted into the blood by the testes, which are responsible for all the physical and psychological features of maleness.

Ardy said Maemunah’s penis was deformed and he needed surgery, which would be difficult because of his age.

“I wish the case had been identified at an earlier stage so the child could be operated on at the age of 1 or 2,” Ardy said.

“If the surgery succeeds and Mei receives full male status, the hospital is willing to provide letters of recommendation so that Mei can get his gender status changed legally in court.”

Dr. Paulus A Gozalli of Margono Soekardjo Hospital in Banyumas said Maemunah could not be categorized as a hermaphrodite.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Groups drawn to intersex convict’s case

Lawyer John Chigiti at a Nairobi court when he filed an application seeking orders to have medical reports about Richard Muasya tabled in court. PHOTO/ CORRESPONDENT

Posted Tuesday, May 25 2010 at 21:00


  • Lobbyists for and anti-gays join suit aimed at ‘third gender’

Activists for and against gay unions have joined a case filed by an intersex convict seeking the legalisation of a third gender in Kenya.

The Kenya Christian Lawyers Fellowship is opposing the plea while the Gays and Lesbians Trust is for the case.

In the case, Richard Muasya, who was born with both male and female genital organs, but goes about as a man, has sued the government, saying that the laws of the land discriminate against him and others like him.

The robbery convict says the law recognises only two sexes — male and female — which he believes is unfair and discriminatory.

Order release

Muasya also wants the court to order his release from Kamiti maximum prison, a male prison, citing sexual harassment and inhuman treatment. He asked the court to establish a separate jail facility for intersex inmates.

But the Christian lawyers asked the court not to heed Muasya’s prayers.

The group argues that should the court permit the introduction of an indeterminate ‘third gender’, it is likely to open floodgates for the teaching of doctrines of homosexuality and lesbianism.

The group of lawyers doubted the agenda of the gay trust being enjoined as a friend of the case, arguing that it had not proved its legal status and had also failed to demonstrate the interest it is seeking.

As a result of this, the lawyers say, the gay trust may be seeking the recognition of gay rights as an offshoot of the court’s finding in the case.

They also argued that Muasya never presented before court any medical report to show that he either had a uterus or ovaries.

On its part, the gay trust did not suggest that they want to seek gay rights. In its suit papers, the trust merely supported Muasya’s arguments and urged the court to uphold his rights.

But the Attorney-General told Muasya to lobby Parliament to have the law changed.

A three-judge bench will hear his case in July.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Man, 33, seeks puberty

By Kat English
Producer, BBC One's One life

Lawrence Koomson is a doctor living and working in London. On the face of it, he seems no different from any other young man but Lawrence has a secret.

At 33, he has never been through puberty. He's never had a spot. He's never had an erection. And he's trapped in the body of a 12-year-old boy.

But this all changed in April 2005, when he began treatment to bring on puberty.

"I feel an outsider, different to everyone else," he said before the treatment. "People take going through puberty for granted; it's just something that happens. For me it has just never happened."

Lawrence has Kallmann's syndrome, a rare condition affecting predominantly men, but also women. A small area in the brain called the hypothalamus cannot work properly causing a hormonal imbalance.

For men like Lawrence, this means his body doesn't produce testosterone, which prevents puberty being triggered. Another characteristic of Kallmann's syndrome is an absent sense of smell.

Having Kallmann's syndrome can lead to extreme difficulties, especially during adolescence, when all one's peers are going through puberty. And the consequences of delayed puberty and not becoming sexually mature naturally has a far-reaching impact on sufferers' lives.

Lawrence's doctor and the UK specialist in the field is endocrinologist Professor Pierre Bouloux.

"We've tested Lawrence's blood testosterone levels and the results make for quite interesting reading," he said, before the treatment. "The reference range for men Lawrence's age would be a testosterone level between 9.9 and 27.8.

"Lawrence's level is less than 0.5. In essence he's got the testosterone levels of a one-year-old so we've got quite a lot of catching up to do.

"In terms of penile length we're talking about a resting length of about four centimetres, and for a chap of Lawrence's size that shows that development hasn't occurred as yet."

With treatment, it's hoped Lawrence will grow body hair, his voice will break, he'll develop body muscle and sexual organs and for the first time will experience sexual desire.

36-hour erection

The treatment consists of six implants in the buttock, which release 200 milligrams of testosterone over six months. He will be dependent on implants for the rest of his life.

Professor Bouloux has treated more than 300 patients over the last 15-20 years.

"In extreme situations, I've seen people not being able to handle the testosterone treatment, developing erections lasting hours and hours, and in one case up to 36 hours.

"There's no script for this, we got to see what happens and navigate a safe course to give Lawrence a level which will put him in a normal range."

Lawrence grew up in Ghana and has only recently been living and working in the UK with the result that he's only now having treatment.

"The thought of treatment makes me feel a bit frightened or scared because I don't know what's going to happen. I might have the urge to have sex when I don't want to have sex!

"I feel excited - it's something I've never been through before. I'll grow a beard and I've always wanted to see how I'll be with a beard and you know I'll get more muscle, so I think the ladies are going to love the new me!"

Lawrence received his long awaited implants in April 2005. The next day, he was glued to the mirror watching and waiting for changes. What will happen first? A spot? An erection? Or signs of a beard?

By day three, he experienced a first.

"It happened today. I was so scared I wasn't sure if it was going to or not going to. I had an erection!

"It really woke me up! It lasted 10-15 minutes. I was happy! I wanted to call the doctor but it was too early in the morning."

For the next six months, Lawrence went through puberty.

As the massive implant of testosterone began to take hold of his body, Lawrence started to feel sexual attraction to women for the first time.

He also experienced all the usual teenage distractions - surfing internet chatrooms looking for female company, even mobile phone porn. It was all new territory for him.

"I'm resisting that push into the teenage world," he said. "I have to behave more responsibly, much more responsibly. Not only am I not a teenager. Also, there's the very fact that I'm a medical doctor and I have to behave more responsibly than that."


Moral conflicts aside, as Lawrence made tentative steps into the scary world of dating, the disappointments started to stack up. Most men make their first advances towards women at an age when it doesn't really matter but at 33 years old, Lawrence found out that the stakes were high.

He shyly arranged his first date over the internet and suggested a trip to the cinema, but baulked when he found out that she wanted to go clubbing.

"She's somebody I've not met, I don't know what she looks like, I don't know what she thinks, and all of sudden it's 'Let's go clubbing.'

"I'm too much of a novice to go into all that. I couldn't allow myself, for me I'm not mature yet to do that - I can't do that, not yet."

But mature enough or not, the opportunity to live a grown man's life was not something Lawrence was going to let slip by.

"I've really missed out on two decades of life and I need to catch up."

Source: Click here