Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Lack of support for New Zealanders with intersex conditions

29 January 2014

Research highlights lack of support for New Zealanders with intersex conditions

A lack of experience and traditional assumptions about male and female bodies make it challenging for New Zealanders with intersex conditions to get the support they need from the medical profession according to PhD research from Victoria University of Wellington.

Dr Geraldine Christmas studied medical management of intersexuality in New Zealand and the level of support available for intersex New Zealanders—those whose bodies fall between male and female—and their families.

Although medical publications indicate that intersex conditions may occur in two percent of live births, the New Zealand rates are not known. However, Dr Christmas says her research indicates the numbers in New Zealand are comparatively small.

“That means some doctors and nurses here may have very little practical experience of supporting intersex people and their families. In bigger countries, there are centres with specialists in the field but here it can be difficult for families to find medical staff who know much about the condition.”

Dr Christmas attended lectures at New Zealand medical schools to hear first-hand what trainee doctors learn about intersexuality and interviewed a range of health professionals and support agency staff. She also talked to a sample group of intersex New Zealanders.

She found that some doctors and nurses hold traditional views about gender identity and parents of intersex babies can be pressured into choosing surgery to ‘normalise’ their child’s body.

“There is still a lot of shame and secrecy surrounding intersexuality. One mother I interviewed talked about being given a videotape of intersex people who had not had surgery and warning them that their children may not be successful or accepted if they did not go ahead with the surgery.

“But the problem with surgery is that it is irreversible and the choice parents make for their child when they are very young may turn out not to be the right one.”

Dr Christmas says she spoke to clinicians who are keen to provide better support for intersex people by establishing an Australasian multi-disciplinary group which would include doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers and representatives from community support agencies.

“The main theme of my interviews with parents of intersex people is that they need really good support from the time that their baby is born.

“They need information that doesn’t pathologise the condition or make it seem damaging or dangerous and they need reassurance that they are not alone.”

Her research also shows that intersex people have widely differing views on their condition and their gender identity.

“Some parents, especially in rural areas with closer-knit communities, are concerned that their children may become the subject of gossip and experience discrimination. Some people don’t see themselves as intersex, even if they have an intersex condition, while others are fluid in how they describe their gender.”

Dr Christmas’ research findings are available online at: http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/handle/10063/2845

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Architecture:
Ian Athfield Dies In Wellington

New Zealand Institute of Architects: It is with great sadness that we inform Members that Sir Ian Athfield, one of New Zealand's finest architects, has passed away in Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington Production: New-Look Tracy Brothers Are F.A.B.

ITV and New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures today released an exclusive preview of the new-look Tracy brothers from this year’s hotly anticipated new series, Thunderbirds Are Go. More>>

ALSO:

Cardinal Numbers:
Pope Francis Names Archbishop From NZ Among New Cardinals

Announcing a list of bishops to be made Cardinals in February Pope Francis named Archbishop John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington, overnight from Rome. On hearing the news of the announcement, Archbishop John Dew said "This news is recognition of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the contribution it makes to the global Catholic family." More>>

ALSO:

Nomenclature: Charlotte And Oliver Top Baby Names For 2014

Charlotte and Oliver were the most popular names for newborn girls and boys in 2014... The top 100 girls’ and boys’ names make up a small proportion of the more than 12,000 unique first names registered for children born this year, says Jeff Montgomery, Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriage. More>>

Werewolf: Katniss Joins The News Team

From the outset, the Hunger Games series has dwelt obsessively on the ways that media images infiltrate our public and personal lives... From that grim starting point, Mockingjay Part One takes the process a few stages further. There is very little of the film that does not involve the characters (a) being on screens (b) making propaganda footage to be screened and (c) reacting to what other characters have been doing on screens. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Ko Witi Te Kaituhituhi

Witi Ihimaera, the distinguished Māori author and the first Māori to publish a book of short stories and a novel, has adopted a new genre with his latest book. But despite its subtitle, this book is a great deal more than a memoir of childhood. More>>

Werewolf: Rescuing Paul Robeson

Would it be any harder these days, for the US government to destroy the career of a famous American entertainer and disappear them from history – purely because of their political beliefs? You would hope so. In 1940, Paul Robeson – a gifted black athlete, singer, film star, Shakespearean actor and orator – was one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. More>>

ALSO:

"Not A Competition... A Quest": Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Winners

Big winners on the night were Equivocation (Promising Newcomer, Best Costume, Best Director and Production of the Year), Kiss the Fish (Best Music Composition, Outstanding New NZ Play and Best Supporting Actress), and Watch (Best Set, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Performance). More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news