A Counterintuitive Responsibility

For what is a parent responsible? Is it their child’s normal maturation? The answers to these questions would seem natural for a child born with ‘normal’ genitalia. But, what about the one intersex baby born per 1500 ‘average’ newborns? Parents want their children to grow up living a life that complies with society’s standards. Naturally, when a doctor offers to ‘fix’ the infant’s abnormal ‘gender’ (or lack thereof), a parent is forced to contemplate the future that their child might face if the infant is subjugated to a life of not having a sex that fits within the ‘two-sex’ mold that dominates society. Adults have been raised to provide the best lifestyle they can for their children. This includes attempting to protect their child from falling within the 53.6% of children who are verbally bullied in school. So, the upbringing of an intersex offspring would seem counterintuitive to most parents. This is why intersex surgeries was and still is a fairly common decision for new parents to make for their newborn child.

Parents are responsible for making their child happy, even if it means going against their intuition. But, what is happiness in such a judgmental environment? Complicated.


Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Sexing the Body. New York: Basic Books, 2000.


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