Smoke and mirrors

By on .

This post follows on from my post about how how things have ‘begun to change’ according to members of the team at University College London Hospital. These can be found on the OII-UK site:

Holistic Medicine Without Autonomy!

This post is made in the context of a piece recently published by Advocates for Informed Choice in the USA, about the response by endocrinologists to the comments by the UN Rapporteur. I understand their optimism about this, but given what seems to be suggested from the paper published by the team at UCLH, and reading between the lines of what the endocrinologists are quoted as saying in here, I am afraid I am not so optimistic as AIC Legal on this. I read these endocrinologists as paying lip-service to the findings of the Rapporteur, while they actually appear to accede nothing at all:

The response maintains an emphasis not only that intersex ‘conditions’ are ‘disorders of sex development’, but that intersex per se is ‘a condition classified as a “disorder of sex development”’, which is even worse.

In talking about ‘change’, what change is described? Not the deferral of decision-making until a time that the child can be consulted themselves! Quite the opposite:

However, over the last few years, medical practice has begun to change considerably, with a greater emphasis being placed on consideration of functional and psychosocial outcomes rather than simply cosmetic appearance.

So, this says nothing about minimising these interventions, what it says is that the rationale and justification has changed. When they happen, they happen not because of a decision made by any individual, but a group has responsibility, and their decision will be made on ‘functional and psychosocial’ grounds.

This could be read as duplicitous and misleading.

They do not cite any evidence that would suggest that certain ‘psychosocial’ outcomes are in some way more preferable to the known problems later in life associated with early interventions, for which there is evidence. In fact, the psychologist John Money would have pointed to such outcomes as justifying the approach he promoted.

So, what has actually changed, folks, apart from a process which effectively distributes responsibility, and legitimises business as usual? Do the kids get to have more autonomy over their bodies or not?