It is important to talk about facts and state the truth with civility, dignity and humility. It would be wrong to stay silent and further to force silence on truth would be both heinous and undemocratic. Ironically, for decades if not generations, silence is how intersex has been dealt with both in the east and west and the biggest lesson learnt as an intersex, IVF, immigrant family in 2000s is secrecy and lying are the real culprits. So with all due respect to all, let us state the truth so that we can salvage innocent childhoods and not live on false foundations because that is no way to deliver justice. In dealing with these complex issues of the 21st century, patience is the foremost thing required and that we have and let truth prevail. For most people, infertility is a “distant” issue, IVF/surrogacy is even more of a “distant” issue, and having innocent IVF siblings SPLIT is more “distant” and having an abandoned IVF child is “very distant”. To them, injustice to innocent IVF children may represent a very small fraction BUT to us, THEY are our WORLD and everything. We deeply care about equal IVF rights as it affects our family deeply or rather lack of IVF rights is hurting our family immensely.
It is 2014 and the west is still to get up to speed with acknowledging presence of the “third gender”. What is more important is to give them equal rights like marriage, having children despite being infertile, so that unsuspecting compassionate law abiding citizens are not frauded and cheated because laws are not in their favor. Worse, innocent IVF children of an intersex family are NOT SPLIT just so that someone can have a child at any cost. Regardless of what side of the debate you are on, at the end of your justification, add two sentences – “…and therefore its OK to abandon innocent IVF child. And therefore its OK to SPLIT innocent IVF brother and sister who he wanted.” Laws are man-made and NOT perfect, justice is NOT perfect, Life is NOT fair, but why punish innocent IVF children – the most vulnerable of the vulnerable for that?
- Denial or Acceptance – While Asian countries in the East have long acknowledged the existence of the “third gender” and given them a special designation in the society in order to be assimilated. This went on for thousands of years in the east until the west colonialized the east and imposed their “own laws” including discriminatory laws against the “third gender”. The situation today of the “third gender” in countries like India, Pakistan, etc. is a “post-British” situation which is very different than what it was 400-500 years ago when they were in an esteemed position. One has to question, what is better as a “human being” – DENIAL or ACCEPTANCE? Now the same set of secrecy, lack of laws is being repeated on IVF children and families including crimes and abuse perpetrated.
- Best of East-West – The current situation in the East may not be the best for “third gender” when it comes to human rights but at least they can live honestly. There are “third gender” folks in the west who are clamouring for a legal identity which their governments are in denial because of archaic laws from centuries past similar to the laws that British brought with them during colonization. The West is slowly waking up to issues of the “third gender” and accepting the facts. The journey has just begun. Australia and New Zealand recognized the third gender in 2012, then came Germany in 2013 and now there are discussions that UK may be next. Perhaps the US will also wake up to this reality someday. Good news is the West is catching up and taking steps to remedy centuries old wrongs. And what is needed is an amalgamation of both East and West philosophies in dealing with intersex and IVF – both highly taboo subjects but affecting one family deeply and greatly especially innocent siblings.
- Science and Truth – The West provides a forum to understand and learn topics. There are specialized institutions, professionals, conferences, openness specifically dedicated to dealing with “third gender” issues or known as Disorders of Sexual Development (DSD) or known as intersex (there is controversy among the communities whether the politically correct term is “intersex” or “DSD”). In countries like India, in the local vernacular and a legal term, they are refered to as Eunuchs, again a controversial term depending on who you ask. One has to wonder is it the “terms” which are controversial or the subject itself is controversial since it is taboo to discuss it meaning regardless of what term we come up with, it will be always controversial and if so, how do we honestly and scientifically discuss the issues of an intersex family? For the academicians, lawyers, politicians, activists, etc, their fight maybe of “political correctness”; for victims of lack of laws for intersex and IVF, it is a matter of survival.
- Statistics – As per NIH, about 1 in 2000 births are born DSD/intersex, which is a generic term. Its important to note that the NIH, a reputable institution also uses both terms which highlights the controversy and confusion. This means its a minority. Most DSD/intersex people are infertile and as per CDC, 1 in 6 couples are infertile. Does this include or exclude intersex/DSD? Does the CDC statistics include LGBTI or are they only looking at heterosexual couples? It is 2014, isn’t it time to update our scientific data gathering to be more reflective of the realities in our society? More importantly, statistics drive change, they drive laws, and if the statistics itself are not reflective (inadvertently or deliberate) of the issues faced by the population, then how can we expect to get new laws and therefore justice?
- Medicine – In 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture announced for a STOP to intersex surgeries. This means what the doctors, highly learned academicians, medical professionals had been doing for last 50 years were WRONG! The fraud paperwork to support their lies and wrongs is also wrong, is it a crime? For the reasons why Dr. John Money has been proven wrong today while highly sought after and reputable medical professional during his time, similarly, performing intersex surgeries under secrecy and lies during a marriage with inappropriate resources is WRONG. It is a recipe for disaster to ruin a family and more importantly endangering the welfare of innocent children. Science and wishful thinking don’t go together. Science relies on facts. The medical professionals in their zeal to right “social wrongs” forgot to adhere to facts and science and as a result lost credibility again in dealing with sensitive issues like intersex just like Dr. John Money. Cannibalizing the rights of other humans is no way to give human rights to one human.
- Change – Today, parents and siblings of intersex/DSD also get treatment and counseling. Given the same logic, why are there NO options for spouses and children of an intersex family especially when the torturous intersex surgery occurred during a marriage? Are the spouses and children of an intersex family supposed to lie, live in silence and suppress their experiences and torture? And how is that exactly different than what was done to intersex people for decades and centuries? It may take a few more decades/centuries for the West and East to understand what happened to spouse and children of an intersex family but silencing them in the meantime is no justice as they are living through an IVF Holocaust.
- History – Sadly there are people in this world who believe the Holocaust did not occur. There are two issues here. One there is denial of facts and therefore denial of justice to victims and continued victimization and second no lessons learnt and the threat of reoccurrence. Had the world not recognized the Holocaust, perhaps, the story in Bosnia/Serbia, Rwanda, ongoing ISIS may have ended differently with thousands more innocent lives lost. Let us take learning lessons from an intersex, IVF, immigrant family in 2000s so that we can usher change for equal rights for intersex, IVF children and families and caregivers. No one deserves to have their human rights and/or child rights violated. By silencing, we are not going to achieve anything but perhaps by listening to facts and accepting the truth, we may open a door for a better future. What is so wrong about that?