Navigating the complexities of adult healthcare for individuals with variations of sex characteristics: from paediatric emergencies to a sense of abandonment

Daniela Crocetti, Adeline Berry, Surya Monro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Intersex people and those with variations of sex characteristics face significant health and social issues. This paper analyses the complexities of adult healthcare for this diverse population, including the root causes of deficiencies in care provision. Many minors with variations of sex characteristics are subjected to irreversible, non-consensual medical interventions, which can have negative effects on their health and wellbeing as adults. This ‘emergency’ approach to intersex paediatric healthcare has been challenged since the 1990s, but there is still a lack of understanding about how the paradigm affects adult care. This paper aims to raise awareness of the health challenges faced by adults with variations of sex characteristics. It identifies themes related to the challenges associated with accessing appropriate adult care, including the repercussions of childhood treatment, the lack of transitional services and psychological support, the limited general medical knowledge about variations of sex characteristics, and the reluctance to access services due to fear of stigma or past medical trauma. The paper indicates the need for more attention to intersex people’s health needs as adults, moving away from attempts to ‘fix’ them as minors towards approaches which consider and provide for their diverse healthcare needs in a broader temporal context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-345
Number of pages14
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Volume26
Issue number3
Early online date18 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024

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