November 8, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Develop an Outreach Program About the Impact of Medical Treatments on Intersex Individuals

Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Develop an Outreach Program About the Impact of Medical Treatments on Intersex Individuals

Legislation S.5399/A.5627 Requires DOH to Conduct Outreach to Intersex Individuals, Intersex-led Organizations, and their Chosen Advocates

Governor Signs First-In-The-Nation Legislation During Intersex Day of Solidarity, A Global Day of Awareness for the Intersex Community

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Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation S.5399/A.5627 which requires the New York State Department of Health to conduct a public information and outreach campaign on medically unnecessary treatments performed on intersex individuals. The Governor signed the legislation, the first statewide law of its kind in the United States, on Intersex Day of Solidarity, a day of awareness for intersex individuals and the unique challenges they face.

“As we recognize Intersex Day of Solidarity, I'm proud to sign new legislation that supports and uplifts this community,” Governor Hochul said. “Every individual in New York deserves to be treated with dignity and respect by our medical system, especially our kids. This new law is a significant step forward to raise awareness of the intersex community and ensure they get informed and compassionate medical care."

Legislation S.5399/A.5627 aims to reduce harm caused by unnecessary treatments intersex youth may be subjected to in order to make them fit into restrictive male-female binary categories. This campaign will also serve to bring awareness to the natural existence of people born with intersex traits and the risks that may accompany both emergency and non-emergent medical procedures recommended for them.

State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal said, “An estimated 400,000 New Yorkers have intersex traits, which are natural variations in sex characteristics. Contrary to common understanding, there is no evidence that surgical procedures to ‘correct’ infants born intersex benefit children in any way. In fact, these medically unnecessary operations come with a slew of potential negative impacts that parents must be aware of. I’m proud that today, on Intersex Day of Solidarity, Governor Hochul is signing our bill with Assemblymember Seawright that will require the Department of Health to conduct a public information and outreach campaign on intersex health. I’m so grateful to Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Assemblymember Seawright, NYCLU, New Pride Agenda, and InterACT for their support of this critical bill.”

Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright said, “I commend Governor Hochul for signing the legislation I sponsored to educate new parents on the unnecessary and often harmful surgeries performed on infants and young children born intersex. This education will be key to helping parents understand that surgery is permanent and can cause irreversible physical and psychological effects. We are proud to have closely worked with impacted communities including InterACT, a non-profit organization using innovative strategies to advocate for the legal and human rights of children with intersex traits. The NYS Health Department will be required to consult with intersex people and advocates in developing these important health outreach materials.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “All New Yorkers, including individuals who are born intersex, deserve compassionate care, free from unnecessary and potentially harmful medical interventions. This public information and harm reduction campaign will help inform parents and guardians about the unique medical challenges faced by intersexual individuals so they are equipped to make thoughtful and informed decisions.”

interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth Executive Director Erika Lorshbough said, "Today, Governor Hochul makes New York the first state in the nation to initiate a community-informed educational campaign about the experiences of intersex youth and the impacts of subjecting them in early childhood to nonconsensual and often unnecessary medical interventions. As proud advocates for children and young people with intersex variations, we at interACT are so grateful to Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember Seawright for advancing this legislation, and to the Governor for enacting it. November 8th is a global Intersex Day of Solidarity and Remembrance; today we remember the struggles for autonomy and self-determination of intersex people around the world, and we celebrate the expression of solidarity by our partners in New York acting to increase awareness and honor the human rights of children with intersex variations.”

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