Lawmakers in Greece have voted to pass a bill to ban non-consensual, so-called “normalisation” surgeries on intersex children.
Intersex people are born with innate sex characteristics that don’t fit medical norms for female nor male bodies.
As infants, many undergo unnecessary and irreversible so-called “normalising” surgeries when they’re too young to consent.
While some of the procedures and treatments are medically necessary, many are not.
Intersex people have experienced negative impacts on physical and mental wellbeing as a result.
Greek MPs passed the bill to ban such procedures on children under 15 unless a court allows them. Doctors who perform the surgeries in Greece would face fines and prison.
However the procedures will be available to intersex people aged 15 and over if they give free and informed consent.
Intersex Greece celebrates country’s passage of surgery ban
The country’s only advocacy group, Intersex Greece, said it was “a day of celebration, relief and hope” for the community in Greece.
The group said up until now, doctors have carried out the surgical and other medical interventions “on intersex infants and children, secretly and without consent… to ‘conform’ their sex characteristics with ‘typical’ male or female anatomy.”
“Greece has legally banned these interventions,” the group said.
“This ends the abuses perpetrated on infant, child and adolescent intersex bodies by the medical community with the tolerance of the state for years.
“All intersex persons in Greece [can] finally feel that they are valid, that they are heard and that they are respected just as they are born.
“Nobody can define their body without their own will and consent.
“Today is, therefore, historic for the protection and recognition of the human rights of intersex people, in Greece, in Europe and in the world.”
The country joins Germany, Iceland, Malta and Portugal that have put in place similar legislation.
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