Addressing harmful practices and rhetoric of change

In May 2016, the journal Reproductive Health Matters kindly published my first peer-reviewed article, on the state of intersex human rights.
Page last reviewed 30 December 2016

Reproductive Health Matters issue cover
The journal Reproductive Health Matters has kindly published my first peer-reviewed journal article. It addresses differences between perception of change to clinical practices and the reality of their persistence.

Intersex people and bodies have been considered incapable of integration into society. Medical interventions on often healthy bodies remain the norm, addressing perceived familial and cultural demands, despite concerns about necessity, outcomes, conduct and consent.

A global and decentralised intersex movement pursues simple core goals: the rights to bodily autonomy and self-determination, and an end to stigmatisation. The international human rights system is responding with an array of new policy statements from human rights institutions and a handful of national governments recognising the rights of intersex people. However, major challenges remain to implement those statements.

Human rights violations of intersex individuals persist, deeply embedded in a deliberate history of silencing. Rhetoric of changes to clinical practice remain unsubstantiated. Policy disjunctions arise in a framing of intersex issues as matters of sexual orientation and gender identity, rather than innate sex characteristics; this has led to a rhetoric of inclusion that is not matched by the reality.

Carpenter, Morgan. 2016. ‘The Human Rights of Intersex People: Addressing Harmful Practices and Rhetoric of Change’. Reproductive Health Matters 24 (47): 74–84. doi:10.1016/j.rhm.2016.06.003.

I’d like to gratefully thank the editors and reviewers.