Parent fights to protect trans child from abusive father, lax custody system

By Michelle Zacarias

CHICAGO—At 2-years-old, Noella started vocalizing her desire to be acknowledged as a girl. “People would say, what a cute little boy you have, and she would correct them and say, ‘No, I’m a girl,” says Dee Beth (they/them), Noella’s parent and primary guardian. Recognizing the indicators of having a transgender child, Beth enlisted the support of Lurie’s Hospital Children’s Gender Development Clinic to confirm what they already suspected. By the time Noella was 4-years-old, she had officially transitioned from “male to female” on documentation (sometimes described as MTF) and picked out a new name for herself. This marked a pivotal moment in Noella’s life; she went from being a shy, withdrawn child to blossoming into a charismatic, outgoing youth.

Intersex justice activists call on hospitals to stop unnecessary surgeries on infants

By Michelle Zacarias

CHICAGO—Intersex activists and allies gathered last week outside of the Marriott Marquis hotel to protest the continued performance of medically unnecessary genital “normalizing” surgery on intersex infants. The demonstration was coordinated by Pidgeon Pagonis and Saifa Wall, co-founders of the Intersex Justice Project (IJP). The action targeted the Societies for Pediatric Urology, which held its annual meeting here last Friday. The Chicago-based protest is one of many growing conversations around the country regarding the ethics of intersex healthcare. Many advocates have condemned the surgeries being performed on intersex youths, which are often framed as “necessary” but cause irreversible bodily damage.