Doctors in the United States continue to perform medically unnecessary surgeries that can inflict permanent harm on intersex children. Despite decades of controversy over the procedures, doctors operate on children’s gonads, internal sex organs, and genitals when they are too young to participate in the decision, even though the surgeries could be safely deferred.

Based on a medical theory popularized in the 1960s, doctors perform surgery on intersex children – often in infancy – with the stated aim of making it easier for them to grow up “normal.” The results are often catastrophic, the supposed benefits are largely unproven, and there are rarely urgent health considerations requiring immediate, irreversible intervention.