News Release: American Academy of Pediatrics Position on Intersexuality

In 1996, the American Academy of Pediatrics annual convention was picketed by a group of intersex people. The AAP refused to talk with the picketers (and did not reply to a letter from ISNA), but they did distribute this press release to journalists who had come to cover the demonstration.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, a voice for children for over 60 years, is aware of the concerns and sensitive to the needs of intersexuals.

  • Intersexuals are individuals who are born with anatomical characteristics of both males and females.
  • The Academy is deeply concerned about the emotional, cognitive, and body image development of intersexuals, and believes that successful early genital surgery minimizes these issues.
  • Research on children with ambiguous genitalia has shown that a person’s sexual body image is largely a function of socialization, and children whose genetic sexes are not clearly reflected in external genitalia can be raised successfully as members of either sexes if the process begins before 2 1/2 years.
  • Management and understanding of intersex conditions has significantly improved, particularly over the last several decades.
  • From the viewpoint of emotional development, 6 weeks to 15 months seems the optimal period for genital surgery.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 51,000 pediatricians dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children and young adults.