North American Task Force on Intersex (NATFI) brings together specialists in surgery, endocrinology, psychology, ethics, psychiatry, epidemiology, genetics, public health and representatives of intersex patient advocate groups. With the participation of representatives of the Intersex Society of North America and the AIS Support Group, the Task Force is the first decision-making body on intersex medical care to have included intersex patient advocates.
Note: NATFI has been defunct since 2001.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 23, 2000
CHERYL CHASE, ISNA (734) 994-7369
IAN AARONSON, NATFI (843) 792-4531
NORTH AMERICAN TASK FORCE ON INTERSEX FORMED
SEEKS BROAD INTERDISCIPLINARY CONSENSUS ON TREATMENT
The North American Task Force on Intersex (NATFI) has been formed in
response to the growing debate over standards of practice for medical treatment
of intersex children. Until a few years ago, these standards were uncontroversial.
Now, however, the standards face criticism from patient advocate groups.
In addition, the story of David Reimer, published in John Colapinto's book
As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl, is receiving extensive
The Task Force was formed by Ian Aaronson MD, a pediatric urologist
at the Medical University of South Carolina. Aaronson has, over the past
decades, cared for many intersex patients and is the author of chapters
on the subject in several medical textbooks.
"We are committed to learn from past mistakes in order to offer the
best advice and treatment to our patients in the future," said Aaronson.
"Long term outcome data is very sparse and selective, and this puts surgeons
on tenuous ethical grounds. I was very gratified at the positive response
from members of the professional community and the patient advocate groups
to the notion of forming a Task Force."
NATFI brings together specialists in surgery, endocrinology, psychology,
ethics, psychiatry, epidemiology, genetics, public health and representatives
of intersex patient advocate groups. With the participation of representatives
of the Intersex Society of North America and the AIS Support Group, the
Task Force is the first decision-making body on intersex medical care to
have included intersex patient advocates. "We are committed to achieving
consensus on these all-important patient care issues," said Aaronson.
The Task Force, under Aaronson's chairmanship, is expected to address
a number of issues, including 1) establishment of standards for informed
consent, 2) retrospective review of the long term psychosexual status of
patients treated for intersex, 3) establishment of guidelines for the management
of children born with ambiguous sex anatomy, 4) initiation of a prospective
registry, and 5) revision of medical nomenclature.
The Task Force, an independent and self-governing body, has been endorsed
by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Urological Association,
the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American College
of Medical Genetics, the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, the
Society for Pediatric Urology, the Society for Fetal Urology, and the Society
of Genitourinary Reconstructive Surgeons.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ISNA Applauds NOW's Passage of Intersex Resolution
[July 1, 2001] The National Organization for Women (NOW) today became the first national feminist group to call for intersex children's right "to choose and be properly and fully informed regarding cosmetic medical procedures involving their bodies or genitals."
NOW's action follows four years of intense effort by the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) and GenderPAC, and culminated in a sometimes emotional address by both organizations before NOW's National Board at the invitation of NOW President Patricia Ireland. "After so many years of silence, it was deeply gratifying to have NOW's board listen as I spoke about the surgeries performed on me," said ISNA representative Janet Green.
On October 30, 2001, PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) aired Sex Unknown, a one-hour documentary that centers around the controversy over surgical treatment of intersex children—without interviewing a single intersex person (except David Reimer, who was not born intersex but was treated in a similar manner). The documentary was part of NOVA, the “most watched science TV series in the world and the most watched documentary series on PBS” according to the station, and focused on the biological basis for gender identity. Because it is impossible to manipulate the child’s gender at will, the argument goes, children should not be surgically assigned a sex until we know for sure what their gender is.
For a limited time, you can see a short film by intersex activists online. Your vote and comments can help them win the PlanetOut Movie Awards!
Borderline is the trailer for a work in progress by Lisset Barcellos and Rafael Dumett. Lisett is herself intersexed, and her affidavit was an important element of ISNA's amicus brief to the Constitutional Court of Colombia, resulting in historic human rights protections for intersex children. See also "La Verdad por Favor," a letter from Lisset to her doctor. Four minutes.