Classification: News

7 March 1998


GLMA resolution on intersex interventions

The board of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (
has passed a resolution establishing a policy on genital surgery on children
with ambiguous genitalia. The text of the resolution follows.

Resolution:  105-98-105

Title:     Call for Research and Disclosure Regarding
Intersex Surgery

Author:   Peter Sawires

Introduced by: Bob Cabaj, MD

Endorsed by: Policy Committee

Board Approval: March 7, 1998

WHEREAS, genital surgery has been practiced and encouraged for children
born with ambiguous genitalia since the 1950's; and

WHEREAS, comprehensive research on the long term effects of intersex
surgery has not been done; and

WHEREAS, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association supports fully informed
medical practice backed by solid research and ethical considerations and
believes that reports of dissatisfaction with any medical procedure should
be examined closely, and

WHEREAS, reports have recently surfaced of adults who are dissatisfied
with the surgical interventions performed on them as children, citing both
physical and psychological damage; and

WHEREAS, some adults who did not have surgical intervention during childhood
are satisfied living without these interventions; therefore be it

RESOLVED: that the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association calls on medical
centers involved in surgical intervention for intersex individuals to develop
and conduct comprehensive retrospective and prospective research on the
long-term physical and psychological effects, successes, and

failures of surgical intervention on children with ambiguous genitalia;
and be it further

RESOLVED:  that the development and execution of these studies
should involve the input and oversight of community representatives and
psychiatrists and other psychological based clinicians involved in the
intersex community; and be it further

RESOLVED: that GLMA encourages all medical providers to counsel parents
with full disclosure regarding the possible positive and negative effects
of surgical intervention,  reported risks, the lack of long-term research
associated with surgical intervention, and options including no surgical
intervention and peer support groups before recommending any such procedure
on a child born with ambiguous genitalia; and be it further

RESOLVED:   that GLMA calls on physicians to encourage parents
to fully consider various options before making any decision regarding
how to proceed.