CIRCULAR 7, 2016: A STEP BACK IN THE FIGHT FOR THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF INTERSEX PEOPLE IN CHILE.
By Laura Inter and Hana Aoi
Special thanks to Dr. Eva Alcántara, who collaborated in the revision of this article.
Laura Inter is an intersex activist born in the 80s, since 2013 she runs the Brújula Intersexual project, which offers support and information to intersex people and their families. Laura was diagnosed with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), and born with intersex genitalia (also called “ambiguous genitalia”), she was treated outside the public healthcare system and her body was not subjected to surgeries, maintaining her body integrity.
Hana Aoi is a Mexican intersex activist born in 1981. She was subjected to three different and totally unnecessary surgeries in her childhood, in which her gonads were removed and a vaginoplasty was performed. Her intersex variation was known as true hermaphroditism. Today the term DSD ovotesticular is more in vogue; Hana disagrees with the use of any of those stigmatizing nomenclatures. This variant occurs when there is ovotesticular tissue in at least one gonad (called ovotestis, pl ovotestes).
On August 23, 2016, the Chilean Ministry of Health issued Circular No. 7, 2016, which invalidated Circular No. 18, 2015, which had been highlighted for demanding a cessation of irreversible and unnecessary surgeries and medical treatments in intersex children.
Amongst the most regrettable aspects of this new Circular is the adoption of a pathological language to refer the variants of sexual characteristics, under the term Disorders of Sex Development, as well as a generalization of such variants in scenarios where there are risks to the person’s health that must be taken care of, justifying again the medical interventions in which the patient is put aside and his/her human rights overlooked.
Due to this tendency to generalize and focus only on vague clinical aspects, without support for long-term results that validate them, and ignoring the numerous testimonies of adults with intersex bodies that were intervened in their childhood, as well as the appeals from activists and local and international human rights organizations, is that we feel with the moral obligation to denounce in the following article the errors of Circular No. 7, 2016, in order to expose how the assumption of this practice implies a setback, because it has been highly questioned for more than twenty years around the world, and even the international medical community itself has been forced to rethink due to its questionable aspects.
Article: How was Circular 7 of the Ministry of Health of Chile born? By Camilo Godoy (Spanish)