Parents Sue South Carolina for Surgically Making Child Female.

[deleted account] ( 1 mom has responded )

(CNN) -- The adoptive parents of a child born with male and female organs say South Carolina mutilated their son by choosing a gender and having his male genitalia surgically removed.
The surgery took place when the child was 16 months old and a ward of the state, according to a lawsuit filed by the parents against three doctors and several members of the South Carolina Department of Social Services.
The child's biological mother was deemed unfit, and the biological father had apparently abandoned him, according to the suit. So others made the decision.
The child, now 8 years old, feels more like a boy and "wants to be a normal boy," said Pamela Crawford, the boy's adoptive mother.
"It's become more and more difficult, just as his identity has become more clearly male, the idea that mutilation was done to him had become more and more real," she said in a video released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is assisting in the case.
"There was no medical reason that this decision had to be made at this time."
Marilyn Matheus, a spokeswoman for the South Carolina Department of Social Services, said the agency does not have any comment on the pending litigation.
The defendants named in the suit also include doctors from Medical University of South Carolina and Greenville Memorial Hospital.
Sandy Dees, a spokeswoman for the Greenville Health System, said she could not comment because of the litigation.
Assigned to be a girl, but identifying as a boy
The child, identified in the lawsuit as "M.C.," refuses to be called a girl and lives as a boy. His family, friends, school, religious leaders and pediatrician support his identity.
"We just let him follow his instincts as much as we can," his adoptive father, John Mark Crawford, said in the video.
Pamela Crawford said performing gender assignment surgery on a baby robbed her child of the ability to make the decision for himself.
"I would have never made the decision to choose the gender either way," she said. "What I would have been working with is how do we preserve as much functioning in either direction because we can't know what this child's gender identity is going to be."
The lawsuit claims doctors at a state hospital and Department of Social Services workers "decided to remove M.C.'s healthy genital tissue and radically restructure his reproductive organs in order to make his body appear to be female."
The suit says the surgery violated the 14th Amendment, which says that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law."
The suit also asks for "compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial."
But the adoptive father said the real intent of the lawsuit "is just to uphold these constitutional principles -- integrity of a person's body, and some kind of due process for infants where people around them in power are considering doing surgeries like this."
Pamela Crawford agreed.
"I would give anything for this to not have been done to our child," she said. "I don't want it to happen to any more kids."

I found the ignorance of some of the comments almost as disturbing as the situation itself, so I thought it might make a good debate.

Do you think the parents have good cause to sue?
Do you think the state had the right to choose the sex of the child at such a young age?
Do you think the child should have to wait until he is 18 to make this decision for himself, or do you think his wishes should be considered (if the choice had not been stolen from him) even though he is still a fairly young child?


Denikka - posted on 05/17/2013




In many cases, gender assignment for those born with both sets of genitals is not uncommon. I cannot believe that this was done maliciously, but instead, was done to protect the child. It's not easy growing up without an assigned gender. What does a parent say when asked if their child is a boy or a girl? What bathroom does the child go into as they get older?
I'm sure that the state did this surgery out of concern for the emotional well being for the child, and assigning the female gender is generally much easier than what is required for the male gender, anatomically speaking.

That being said, did the state make the right decision? I don't know. I'm sure they did the best with the information and concerns they had at the time.

I do think the parents have a reason to sue. Even if done with the best intentions, the effects of this procedure have been negative for this child. It's going to be a long process getting him to a physical point where he feels comfortable in his body. It's going to take a lot of money for hormone therapy and surgical procedures to reverse the damage that was done. I'm not sure about suing the doctors or hospitals. But I think the state itself should step in and at the very least, be financially responsible for all medical procedures pertaining to this issue along with any therapy sessions that are needed.

I don't think a child should be forced to wait until age 18 to make a gender reassignment decision. For surgical procedures, maybe. Maybe not 18, but 16. But to begin hormone treatments etc, absolutely not. The best time to start things like that is before puberty. For any child in the wrong physical body. This is to prevent the body making the *wrong* physical changes for the desired gender. If born male but wanting a female form, a male is going to have physical changes such as a broadening of the shoulders, changes to the jawline, etc. If changing gender after puberty, there are always going to be certain features that cannot be changed later in life. Beginning before puberty prevents these physical changes. Not to mention, especially in cases of female to male transformations, it prevents the emotional trauma of those changes, such as growing breasts, and the explanations to surrounding people that the transgendered person may not be ready to face.
It is usually obvious at a fairly young age whether a child is truly transgendered or not. Obviously if there is any uncertainty, a decision should be delayed as long as possible; there are hormone treatments that can be given to prevent/delay the onset of puberty, so those options should be utilized. But as long as there is a long standing certainty, I believe that by the time an average child would start puberty, around 12/13 years old, the child's wishes should be heard and not only taken into consideration, but hold the most weight, barring medical issues, when making a decision of this nature.

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