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corrective surgery

in Queer contexts, this refers to the practice of “correcting” babies and toddlers with intersex variations with medical interventions. Although sometimes such interventions may be necessary (for example, to prevent or reduce future health problems, such as to improve urinary or faecal continence), many are controversial and seek to erase the intersex variations altogether; for example, to make the appearance of ambiguous genitalia more akin to what is typical for males and females. As such, corrective surgery in this regard refers to the cosmetic surgeries performed on infants without their consent, and as such considered an act of interphobia as it considers those with intersex variations to be in need of normalisation.

Increasingly, the practice has come under intense scrutiny – with many countries such as Malta banning the practice of non-consensual cosmetic medical interventions – and the practice being considered a human rights issue. The Council of Europe in 2015 recognised the right for intersex individuals to not undergo sex assignment treatment.

Corrective surgery should not be confused with gender reassignment surgery that takes place on consenting, transgender individuals.

Originally published: 3rd December, 2020
Last modified: 3rd December, 2020