A Single Word: Stop!

If there were only one word I could give to parents of a child born with ambiguous genitalia (intersexual, hermaphrodite, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, et al), that word would be: Stop! Repeat after me, ''STOP!''

When the doctors say, "Your child could never function as a male/female, so we suggest that we cut..." Say ''STOP!''

When an expert surgeon is brought in to tell you that your child has malformed genitals, that she/he needs adjustment, and now is the best time to do it. Say ''STOP!''

You have allowed genetic tests, which have come in with extra chromosomes or with a pattern that does not concur with external appearances. Say ''STOP!''

As much as every parent wants to bring home a girl, or a boy, your child may not be distinctly either. Often immediate corrective procedures are necessary for the life of the child. When well meaning clinicians attempt to make a package deal, say ''STOP!''

Early invasive treatments literally change the destiny, the identity, the 'me' of your child. It is OK to wait. Gender assignment (mutilation) is NOT COSMETIC SURGERY! It is OK to wait and see who the 'me' your child turns out to be, and then bring your child into the decision loop.

If your child is born absolutely mud-ugly, you would love your child, and you would see the wondrous beauty God has created in them. Even more important, you don't have to call your baby 'son' or 'girl'. Love your 'dear one'. Hug your 'precious child'. Enjoy their unique life. As their 'me' begins to be revealed, that is the starting point for mainstreaming toward a gender identity, if any. Depending on the diagnosis, that procedure could begin under 4 years old, or later.

It is our belief at I.S.G.I. that a certain degree of social conformity will eventually need to occur. We believe that God's creation of sexuality is a special gift, and the distinctive of 'male' and 'female' are part of His design. Those of us, your children, who don't exactly fit the mold will be held accountable before God for our lives. Do not rush to decisions for which your child will forever bear the consequences.

You may ask, "What if we make a mistake? What if we have chosen wrongly?" I was raised as a male, though my 'me' was female. The decision to 'adjust' my gender was not made well. My parents labeled my 'me' as odd, perverse, and as sin. They have missed out on a wonderful woman, Who's Who of American Women, a mom to three quality kids. Because they 'sat their minds in concrete' they refused to believe such a person as I could exist.

If you made early decisions to treat/not-treat which your child has voiced as wrong, don't let your pride add to the wall of mistakes. Accept your child, love your child, try to identify how your child is expressing their 'me'. Enjoy the marvelous gift of your 'unique' child, a child designed and built by God.

by Deborah E. Brown, Director Intersex Support Group International

next: Report on Treatment of Newborns With Genital Abnormalities
~ all inside intersexuality articles
~ all articles on gender

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2007, August 9). A Single Word: Stop!, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 17 from

Last Updated: March 15, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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