A pan-Indian transgender organisation has called upon the municipal government of Delhi, India’s capital, to ban sex reassignment surgery from being performed on children under the age of 18 and make it a felony for medical professionals to surgically alter them, the Indian Express reports.
The Association for Transgender Health in India (ATHI), which works towards the mainstreaming of transgender people and seeks to promote their welfare has written to Delhi’s ruling party’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendar Jain, requesting that they propose a law to ban sexual reassignment surgery from being performed on minors. They believe the "accidental discovery" of the surgery later, during puberty, can be traumatic for such people.
The transgender rights association also urged for a ban on the "two finger virginity test on victims of sexual assault, irrespective of their gender - also including women with a disability."
“When an intersex person grows up, many times the parents do not even inform them that they were operated on in childhood. It’s sometimes an accidental discovery for the child, and that can be very traumatic,” Indian Express quotes Dr. Aqsa Shaikh of the transgender NGO as saying.
Shaikh added that when the children recognise their true biological sex during puberty or after marriage, when they face infertility issues, they can feel cheated because the "transition" of their body was performed without their consent. Therefore, it should be avoided until the child reaches 18 if the matter isn't life threatening, so that they can make a conscious decision as an adult.
Recently, Chennai (formerly Madras) had become first Indian city to ban sex reassignment surgeries from being performed on infants and children unless there was a life threatening situation. Citing the Madras high court’s judgement, the group has asked the Delhi government to follow the suit.
In a historic verdict, the country’s top court officially recognised 'third gender people' as having equal rights under the law in 2014. However, intersex rights campaigners believe that the third gender is often stigmatised and shunned by society.