Lawmakers in California and New York are proposing bills that would effectively ban surgery on intersex children unless the operations were medically necessary.
Babies born with chromosomal or anatomical features that do not fit neatly into either traditional definition of 'biological sex' often undergo operations to alter their bodies within the first few months of their lives.
They are unable to make a decision about their own gender identities at that point in life, so state Senator Brad Holyman is proposing legislation that would require patients to give informed consent before undergoing such procedures.
It mirrors a bill proposed by California state Senator Scott Wiener proposed in April.
Surgeries to modify the bodies of these children risk leaving them sterile, scarred, without sensation, incontinent and psychologically traumatizing, according to a Human Rights Watch report published in 2017.
The proposed bans have gained support from much of the intersex community, but California's Medical Association and Urological Association oppose the state's proposed legislature, saying it's an overreach that interfere's with parent's rights to make decisions about their children.
New York's proposed bill will 'protect intersex children from medical intervention and allow them to make these decisions for themselves when they are prepared to do so,' Hoylman told CNN.
A New York state Senator proposed a bill on Friday that would require patients, not parents, to give informed consent to surgeries to alter intersex genitalia, effectively banning the procedures on infants and young children unless they are medically necessary (file)
'These individuals should have autonomy over their bodies.
'But under the current legal construct, intersex people, as infants or children, can be forced to undergo irreversible surgeries that can cause physical pain and emotional distress later in their lives.'
Intersex people make up about 1.7 percent of the population - roughly the same proportion as red heads - according to the advocacy group InterAct, which backs state Senator Hoylman's proposed legislation.
It's a catch all term for people with wide variety of sex-related traits that, by traditional definitions of male and female, might be