‘Issue norms for sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants’
The Kerala High Court has ordered the State government to draft a decree governing sex-selective procedures on intersex newborns and children within three months.
What is Gender and the difference between Gender identity and sexual orientation?
- Gender: In a particular society, people are allocated certain responsibilities, attitudes, activities, expectations, and social standards depending on their perceived or assigned sex. It’s crucial to remember that, even though gender is frequently perceived as a binary idea (male/female), it may be viewed as a spectrum that includes a variety of identities other than just male and female.
- Gender Identity: A person’s gender identity is a firmly held perception of their gender, which may or may not correspond to the sex they were given at birth. It refers to a person’s unique understanding and experience of their gender. People may identify as transgender, cisgender, non-binary, genderqueer, or other identities depending on how they feel about gender.
- Sexual Orientation: A person’s continued emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction to members of a particular gender or gender is referred to as their sexual orientation. The terms heterosexual (attraction to the opposite gender), homosexual (attraction to the same gender), bisexual (attraction to both the same and opposite genders), and others are frequently used to describe sexual orientation.
What is the background of the case?
The court’s decision stemmed from a writ petition filed by parents seeking permission to conduct a genital reconstructive surgery on their child born with ambiguous genitalia.
What ruling did the court pass?
- Concerning sex-selective procedures conducted on intersex infants and children, the Kerala High Court issued guidelines.
- The State government was required by Justice V.G. Arun to develop regulations for these operations within three months.
- Sex-selective procedures can only be performed until these rules are in place if a multidisciplinary state-level committee determines they are necessary to save the child’s life.
What are the Constitution’s sex discrimination rights and requirements for consent?
- The court emphasized that permitting these operations without appropriate regulations could violate constitutional rights.
- These operations were carried out against the child’s dignity and privacy without the knowledge or agreement of the child or their parents.
What is the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act?
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, notably Sections 2(k) and 4(2), were cited by the court.
- Individuals with intersex variants are now covered by the Act’s protections because Section 2(k) expanded the definition of “transgender” to encompass them.
- The right to self-perceived gender identity was guaranteed by Section 4(2) of the Act, which also stated that an individual’s choice of gender is their own and cannot be determined by anybody else, even a court.
In conclusion, the Kerala High Court’s recommendations focused on the requirement for rules about sex-selective procedures on newborns and children who are intersex. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act recognizes the individual’s right to self-perceived gender identity, and the court emphasized the value of informed consent, probable psychological repercussions, and these rights. The court’s ruling aims to uphold the rights, dignity, and privacy of intersex people in cases involving their gender identification and medical procedures.