WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES JULY 1, 2021 13
Don’t forget the ‘I’ in LGBTQIA+
BY DANIEL DROMM
I founded Queens Pride 29 years ago to be a welcoming
space for all the borough’s diverse communities.
Through the years, I excitedly watched as this colorful
celebration, with a serious political message, grew.
It seems every country is now represented. The transgender
presence, always there from the beginning, is
ubiquitous at this point. Many others of all stripes fl ock
to an event that is grounded in family, friends and
neighbors, not corporations. And, of course, so many
straight allies have come to stand with us, which always
makes me swell with emotion.
If asked to distill the essence of Pride, I would say it
is about creating a home for all who do not conform
to rigid societal notions of gender and sexuality. One
group is taking this a step further and challenging
the idea of what “normal” bodies should look like: the
“Intersex” is an umbrella term for diff erences in sex
traits or reproductive anatomy. Intersex people are
born with these diff erences or develop them in childhood.
There are many possible diff erences in genitalia,
hormones, internal anatomy or chromosomes, compared
to the usual two ways that human bodies develop.
According to the United Nations, up to 1.7 percent of the
world population are born with intersex traits.
Medical professionals oft en encourage parents and
guardians to agree to procedures to treat intersex traits
and variations in sex characteristics, even when such
procedures are medically unnecessary. Despite the
prevalence of these violations of basic human rights,
there is no federal or state law prohibiting such procedures.
Much of the work of the intersex community
is aimed at ensuring decisions around intersex bodies
are based on informed consent and self determination,
principals that should be very familiar to LGBTQIA+
and other liberation movements.
New York City has been leading the way in seeking
justice for the intersex community. In April of this year,
the NYC Council passed my legislation requiring the
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to conduct
a public information and outreach campaign regarding
medically unnecessary treatments on individuals born
with intersex traits or variations in sex characteristics.
Most notably, the input of members of the intersex community
will play a key role in the development of this
program. With proper information, New Yorkers will
now be more likely to understand the adverse eff ects of
coercive “normalizing” medical interventions.
Prompted by this legislation and the work of advocates,
NYC Health + Hospitals has decided to end
the practice of medically unnecessary surgeries on
children with intersex traits. Sadly, other prominent
institutions, including Weill Cornell, still prey upon the
unfounded fears of parents and guardians in pursuit
of lucrative yet unethical practices. I applaud this tremendous
step forward and hope that it will encourage
private hospitals in the city to follow suit.
We cannot as an LGBTQIA+ movement, or as a society
for that matter, say that we respect the right to bodily
integrity and the foundational concept of consent yet
ignore the injustices perpetrated by much of the medical
establishment against our intersex siblings. So let’s
celebrate the “I” this Pride Month and commit to ending
this particularly insidious form of violence!
To learn more about the intersex community and
fi nd out how you can help, visit interactadvocates.org.
Daniel Dromm is the city councilman for District 25
in Queens, which covers Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.
QUEENS HITS THE POLLS
PHOTO BY GABRIELE HOLTERMANN
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