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A top pediatric hospital in Boston has agreed to stop performing certain types of genital surgeries on intersex children if they are too young to meaningfully consent.

The decision came from the Boston Children’s Hospital’s behavioral health, endocrinology, and urology program. A spokesperson for the hospital told the 19th that it “will not perform clitoroplasty or vaginoplasty in patients who are too young to participate in a meaningful discussion of the implications of these surgeries unless anatomical differences threaten the physical health of the child.”

Every year, almost 1.7 percent of people are born intersex or are born with sexual or reproductive anatomy that doesn’t align into the binary of male or female. Some people develop these anatomical traits in adolescence or childhood, while others are born with them.

Over the years, the standard medical protocol was to use surgery and hormonal therapy to try to change intersex children’s physical appearance. Clitoroplasties, the surgical creation of a clitoris (which can involve reducing its size), and vaginoplasty, which involves constructing a vagina, are the two such surgeries.

Even though the surgeries are legal worldwide, activists have been protesting these practices for decades, they have been condemned by the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.

Activists say Boston’s Children’s Hospital could reflect a turning point, in July, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago took a similar move and suspended intersex surgeries.

Pidgeon Pagonis, the co-founder of the Intersex Justice Project, said “One hospital was cool, but people might be like, ‘Oh, that’s an anomaly.’ Now that there are two hospitals, people in the community are going to feel more ability to pressure their hospitals to do the same.” He said that in other major cities like New York, Seattle, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Oklahoma City, advocates are pushing for similar changes.

New York City Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis and former health commissioner Oxiris Barbot also have spoken out against performing intersex surgeries on children.

Still, The hospital hasn’t considered dropping other intersex surgeries, including gonadectomies, which constitute the removal of certain reproductive glands, or phalloplasties, which enlarges the penises.

“Vaginoplasties and clitorectomies are very destructive, and it’s very welcome news,” Pagonis said. “But it means there’s still more work to do.”

Some of the consequences of intersex surgeries include loss of sexual sensation, incontinence, fertility problems, and pain during intercourse. Some of the physical consequences of intersex surgeries can have a lifelong psychological impact.

IJP co-founder Sean Saifa Wall mentioned that there are some circumstances when surgery can provide benefits, like if a child is unable to pass urine, but that isn’t likely. In a 2017 report authored by three former U.S. Surgeons General, they noted little benefit to conducting genital surgery on children.

Wall said, “the level of hypervigilance, of just trauma, the emotional and mental health trauma is lifelong.” He added, “we can lessen the potential psychological and physical trauma.”

Wall said he hopes Boston’s shift spurs change, not only from other hospitals but from insurance companies and lawmakers as well, so that it is not mandatory for activists to pressure their individual medical providers.

Recently, state lawmakers in California, New York and Connecticut have suggested bills to halt intersex surgeries, though none have become law.

“We need legislation with teeth,” Wall said. “We need legislation that is actually going to say that these surgeries cannot be done on children unless the medical providers can prove these surgeries are necessary.”

Image Credit: Boston Children’s Hospital




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American Flag Jacket Wearing Insurrectionist Seen Assaulting Officers With Fire Extinguisher Identified

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In a bright American flag jacket, the man seen assaulting police officers with a fire extinguisher during the U.S. Capitol Riots has been identified as 53-year-old Robert Scott Palmer.

The Huffington Post reports that Palmer can be seen on camera spraying officers with a fire extinguisher and then throwing the empty canister at them. The outlet spoke to the Florida husband and father, who complained that Capitol police hit him with crowd control munition. There is footage of him as he showed off the bruises he received to a female journalist during the riots, identifying himself as Robert Palmer from Clearwater, Florida.

Speaking with the outlet, he lamented that he didn’t do anything wrong that the Biden administration is attempting to “vilify the patriots” who participated in the riot.

“I’m just going about it and letting them make the mistakes that they want and ruin the country as they want, and I’m just trying to live my life right now,” he told HuffPost, and “wasn’t anything I had made special — [I] just bought it in a store.”

“I’m just going to just leave it like that. I’m not getting myself any — not deeper, ’cause I didn’t do anything wrong — but I’m not involving myself anymore,” Palmer said before hanging up when asked about the fire extinguisher.

Palmer has a criminal record, which includes being sentenced on battery and felony fraud charges.

HuffPost was able to identify Palmer from a tip received from a woman who is a member of an online sleuth community. While quarantining with COVID-19, the woman, only identified as “Amy,” decided to use some of her free time to track down Capitol rioters. She worked with a group called @capitolhunters to pore over video and photographs.

The FBI is still tracking down insurrectionists who took part in the riots on January 6 over Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in the Presidential Election. They are asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects who were involved in the riot.




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Mom Accused Of Keeping 7-Year-Old Home From School Due To Earache Before Killing Him

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A Georgia mother allegedly killed her 7-year-old son after telling her husband that he was staying home from school due to an earache.

Alison Jones, 36, a mother from Georgia, was charged on Monday for the murder of her son Maddox, the Athens-Banner Herald reported.

Jones fatally shot the young boy while he was lying in bed, PEOPLE reported.

The mother also faces aggravated assault charges for using the semi-automatic handgun to shoot at her husband, Douglas Jones. He was unharmed.

Authorities were called to the family’s home around 7:20 am on Monday after Douglas made a call to 911 to say his wife had shot their son and assaulted him, Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley stated.

Douglas told authorities that his wife informed him that morning that their child was sick and would stay home from school. Around an hour later, he heard a gunshot. He ran to Maddox’s bedroom, and that is when Alison turned the gun on him.

Douglas was able to disarm his wife, who then fled the scene.

The killing resulted from an hours-long fight between the two. However, police have yet to disclose a motive. Alison has yet to talk to the police about what transpired that morning.

Maddox was a second-grade student at Morgan County Primary School.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Maddox Jones, one of our primary school students,” reads a statement from Dr. Virgil Cole, superintendent of the Morgan County Charter School System.

“Maddox was a beloved member of our school community and we will miss him tremendously,” the statement continues. “The school district is mourning this tragic loss along with the family, our staff and community. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this terribly difficult time.”

Jones has yet to enter pleas to the charges against her and remains in custody.




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NY Times Columnist Calls Out Pepé Le Pew For Perpetuating Rape Culture

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In keeping up with an ever-changing world, another childhood fave is being called out for problematic messaging.

Last week it was legendary children’s author, Dr. Seuss, for his work’s racist depictions of black and brown people. This week, in a NY Times Op-Ed article, a writer calls out some Looney Tunes cartoon characters. Most specifically, “Pepé Le Pew” for perpetuating rape culture.

According to TMZ, columnist Charles M. Blow wrote a thought-provoking op-ed piece titled “Six Seuss Books Bore a Bias” that highlights how deeply embedded racism is in American pop culture and points out just how early racist themes are fed to young children.

“Some of the first cartoons I can remember included Pepé Le Pew, who normalized rape culture; Speedy Gonzales, whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans; and Mammy Two Shoes, a heavyset Black maid who spoke in a heavy accent,” Blow wrote.

He maintained that the French skunk, who incessantly pursued Penelope Pussycat, time after time, normalized and perpetuated rape culture, and after some readers attacked his points, he took to Twitter with an example of Le Pew’s now-cringe-worthy, problematic behavior.

“RW blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture. Let’s see. 1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.” It’s true … Penelope Pussycat was often in Pepe’s clutches,” Blow tweeted.

“This helped teach boys that “no” didn’t really mean no, that it was a part of “the game,” the starting line of a power struggle. It taught overcoming a woman’s strenuous, even physical objections, was normal, adorable, funny. They didn’t even give the woman the ability to SPEAK,” he explained.

Does he have a point?




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