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China Daily

April 26, 2019

Circumcision to be promoted at Beijing universities

by Yang Wanli

Circumcision will be popularized at universities in Beijing as a prevention of HIV/AIDS, the Beijing College Hospital Union said on Friday.

The union, which has more than 50 member hospitals in Beijing's universities, will train doctors in universities to use a China-made male circumcision device as a way to prevent HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Led by Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, the union established a training center on Friday, which will invite surgeons at public hospitals to teach university doctors to use the device.

So far, BUPT hospital has conducted more than 5,000 circumcision surgeries mainly for teachers and students.

Wang Hong, surgeon at the hospital, said many college students have poor awareness of the importance of circumcision and only few doctors know that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV/AIDS infection.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, clinical trials [on adult volunteers in Africa] have [disputedly] demonstrated that circumcision reduces the risk of [men} contracting HIV/AIDS [from women] by 50 to 60 percent. The procedure also reduces the chances of contracting herpes and human papillomavirus, two pathogens believed to cause cancer of the penis, by 30 percent. [Based on one study - which has also generated many of the other pro-cutting claims, including HIV. Other studies find no such effects.]

The ShangRing, the domestic made device that will be used in circumcision at university hospitals, gained the prequalification by the World Health Organization in 2015. It consists of two concentric rings that clamp together and expose the natural foreskin of the penis in such a way that it can be removed surgically, but with minimal bleeding. The use of the ring also cuts the procedure time to about three to five minutes from about 30 minutes before.

According to the China CDC, the number of new HIV cases in people between 15 and 24 years old in China increased from about 8,300 in 2008 to nearly 17,000 in 2015. Homosexual men accounted for more than 58 percent of all the infections in that group in 2015.


(Bing translation: it may not be accurate. 必應翻譯: 可能不准確。)




北京學院醫院聯盟 2 5日表示, 包皮環切術將在北京大學推廣, 作為預防愛滋病毒/愛滋病的一種方法。

該聯盟在北京的大學裡有 5 0多家會員醫院, 將培訓大學醫生使用中國製造的男性包皮環切裝置, 作為預防愛滋病毒/愛滋病等性傳播疾病的一種方式。

在北京郵電大學的領導下, 工會 2 5日成立了一個培訓中心, 該中心將邀請公立醫院的外科醫生教大學醫生使用這種設備。

到目前為止, BUPT 醫院已經進行了 5, 000多例包皮環切術, 主要針對教師和學生。

該院的外科醫生王紅說, 許多大學生對包皮環切術的重要性認識不足, 只有少數醫生知道包皮環切術可以降低感染愛滋病毒/愛滋病的風險。

根據美國疾病控制和預防中心的說法, [針對非洲成年志願者的] 臨床試驗 [有爭議地] 表明, 包皮環切術將 [男性] 感染愛滋病毒/愛滋病 [婦女] 的風險降低了50% 至60%。該程式還減少了感染皰疹和人類乳頭狀瘤病毒的機會, 這兩種病原體被認為會導致陰莖癌症, 減少了30%。[根據一項研究----這也產生了許多其他支援削減的說法, 包括愛滋病毒。其他研究沒有發現這樣的影響。

將 在大學醫院用於包皮環切術的國產裝置 "上環" 于 2 0 1 5年獲得世界衛生組織的資格預審。它由兩個同心圓組成, 夾緊在一起, 並暴露陰莖的自然包皮, 在這種情況下, 它可以通過手術切除, 但以最小的出血。戒指的使用也將手術時間從 3 0分鐘前縮短到3到5分鐘左右。

根據中國疾控中心的資料, 中國15至24歲人群中新增愛滋病毒病例從2008年的約 8, 300 例增加到2015年的近 17, 000 例。2015年, 同性戀男性占該群體所有感染病例的58% 以上
This is a very bad idea. The foreskin of the penis is valuable: it confers special pleasure to men and their sexual partners.  Men who have their foreskins cut off when they are adults say they lose a great deal. Men who had their foreskin cut off when they were babies can not imagine what they are lacking.
The claim that cutting off the foreskin prevents HIV has not been proved true in the real world. The three trials in Africa, that claim to prove cutting is protective, have many faults. 5,400 volunteers were cut and another 5,400 men were made to wait for two years. At the end of that time, 73 of the cut men had HIV. 132 of the men who were not yet cut had HIV. But 703 men (327 of them cut) did not finish the trial, and nobody knows whether they had HIV or not. There are many other problems with the three trials, and men need to use condoms for sex whether they are cut or not.
(必應翻譯: 可能不准確。)
這樣做是個壞主意。陰莖的包皮是有價值的: 它給男人和他們的性伴侶帶來了特殊的快樂。成年後皮膚被割掉的人說, 他們損失很大。那些在長大前包皮被割掉的人無法想像他們缺了什麼。切斷包皮可以預防愛滋病毒的說法在現實世界中並沒有被證明是正確的。在非洲進行的三項試 驗聲稱具有保護作用, 並有許多缺點。5400名志願者被駭客攻擊, 另有 5 400名男子被要求等待兩年。當時結束時, 有73名被切割的男子感染了愛滋病毒。在尚未被切割的男子中, 132 人感染了愛滋病毒。但703名男子 (其中327人被切割) 沒有完成試驗, 也沒有人知道他們是否感染了愛滋病毒。這3項試驗還有很多其他問題, 所以男性需要使用避孕套進行性行為, 不管是否被割傷。

BBC News

April 17, 2019

'Circumcision caused my son’s suicide'

by Caroline Lowbridge

"Know that I went peacefully and am now in a state of peace that was impossible following this mutilation. I died in 2015, not now."

Lesley Roberts was stunned as she read the devastating final email from her beloved son Alex Hardy. ...

His email explained how the foreskin of his penis had been surgically removed two years before. This is commonly known as circumcision, but Alex had come to believe it should be regarded as "male genital mutilation". ...

[The feature tells Alex's story at length, makes it very clear there was no other motive for his suicide, and goes into detail about the foreskin, male genital cutting and the movement against it.]

CBS Minnesota

April 12, 2019

US Drops Appeal Dismissing Female Genital Mutilation Charges

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department said a federal ban on genital mutilation should be rewritten to protect it from constitutional challenges after a judge in Detroit threw out charges against members of a Muslim sect.

[It can do that by striking out the word "female" and all gendered references, thereby protecting all people, male, female or intersex, from non-consented, non-therapeutic genital cutting.]


Earlier story


April 8, 2019

State Bill to Ban Cosmetic Genital Surgery for Intersex Infants Delayed Amid Opposition From Doctors

by LA Times

A bill to ban cosmetic surgeries on children born with atypical genitalia was shelved for the year before lawmakers could vote on it amid opposition from doctors who said medical decisions should be left up to parents.

Similar legislation is being considered in other states, but the effort by intersex advocates in California will not be taken up again until January. The bill once again demonstrated the clout of the doctors’ lobby in Sacramento, with physician associations arguing the bill was too broad and that it sought to legislate complex medical decisions.

The legislation, Senate Bill 201 by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would have required that a child be old enough to consent to genital surgeries that are not medically necessary. The Senate’s business and professions committee held a hearing on the bill April 1, but its chairman, Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), delayed a vote until Monday in the hope that Wiener could work through concerns raised by medical associations.

Ahead of the vote, Wiener said Glazer asked that the bill be held until January to give more time to work with the opposition.

Earlier story


April 3, 2019

Another infant boy in Italy dies after home circumcision

ROME (AP) — The Italian news agency ANSA is reporting that another infant boy has died in Italy as the result of a circumcision performed at home.

ANSA reported the newborn died overnight near the port city of Genoa after his Nigerian mother and grandmother called for emergency medical help.

A 5-month-old baby died last month in Bologna after his parents performed a circumcision at home, and a 2-year-old boy died of severe blood loss as a result of a botched circumcision in Rome last December.

Circumcision is not practiced among Italy’s Roman Catholic majority. Many immigrants in Italy are Muslim and practice circumcision for cultural and religious reasons, but sometimes have trouble accessing the practice in hospitals either for cost or because some doctors refuse to perform circumcisions until boys are at least 4.

Earlier story

news.com.au / The Sun

March 26, 2019

Man circumcised by mistake after surgeons mix him up with another patient

A man who went to hospital for a bladder procedure instead had his foreskin removed, after staff got him confused with another patient in a shocking mix-up.

A man was circumcised by mistake after bungling surgeons got him muddled up with another patient.

The shocking revelation came to light in a report by the UK’s National Health Service which detailed how he was due to have an entirely different procedure, The Sun reports. [In the USA, this is the stuff of comedy.]

The patient had been scheduled to have a cystoscope — a bladder inspection with a camera.

But instead surgeons removed his foreskin after his notes were mixed with a patient due to have a circumcision last September.

The error was one of eight “never events” at University Hospital of Leicester NHS Trusts last year — with the report stating the trusts had failed to learn from them.


The trust say[s] never events are “serious, largely preventable safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventive measures are implemented”.


CTV News

March 24, 2019

Italian baby dies after being circumcised by parents at home

Associated Press

ROME -- An infant boy in Italy has died as the result of a circumcision performed by his parents at home, according to Italian media reports on Sunday.

The ANSA news agency reported that the 5-month-old baby was brought to a hospital in Bologna by helicopter in cardiac arrest on Friday afternoon and died that night.

The prosecutor's office in the northern province of Reggio Emilia has opened a manslaughter investigation, and the infant will undergo an autopsy.

The tragedy follows a botched home circumcision of a 2-year-old who died of severe blood loss in December in Rome. In that case, his twin brother nearly died, too, but survived following intensive care treatment.

Circumcision is not practiced among Italy's Roman Catholic majority. Many immigrants in Italy are Muslim and practice circumcision for cultural and religious reasons, but sometimes have trouble accessing the practice in hospitals.

For some, the hospital costs are too high. Also, in some Italian hospitals, doctors refuse to perform circumcisions until the boys have reached the age of 4 or even older.

Foad Aodi, the founder of the association of foreign doctors in Italy (AMSI), has appealed to health authorities to allow circumcisions at affordable prices and to lower the age of access to help fight clandestine attempts at circumcisions. [Is that their solution to clandestine female genital cutting too?]


March 9, 2019

Mother jailed for female genital mutilation on three-year-old

A 37-year-old mother has been jailed after becoming the first person in the UK to be convicted of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Ugandan woman mutilated her three-year-old daughter at their family home in east London in 2017.

She was jailed for 11 years for the FGM and a further two years for indecent images and extreme pornography.

Sentencing at the Old Bailey, Mrs Justice Whipple said the act was "a barbaric and sickening crime".

"FGM has long been against the law and let's be clear FGM is a form of child abuse", she added.

Spells and curses

The mother was born in Uganda but has lived in the UK for a number of years. FGM is banned in both countries, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

The judge said it was not known why, contrary to her culture, the woman inflicted FGM on her child, although witchcraft was a possibility.

Spells and curses [apparently] intended to deter police investigations were found at the woman's home before her trial.

During the trial, the woman claimed that in August 2017 her daughter climbed up to get a biscuit and "fell on metal and it's ripped her private parts".

Medics alerted police to the girl's injuries after they treated her at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone.

The child "lost a significant amount of blood as a result of the injuries... delivered and inflicted on her", jurors were told.


Cow tongues

While the parents were on bail, police searched the mother's home and said they found evidence of "witchcraft".

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC said two cow tongues were "bound in wire with nails and a small blunt knife" embedded in them.

Forty limes and other fruit were found containing pieces of paper with names written on them, including those of police officers and a social worker involved in the investigation.

Sentencing the woman, who cannot be named to protect the victim's identity, the judge said: "[FGM] is a barbaric practice and a serious crime. It's an offence which targets women, particularly inflicted when they are young and vulnerable."

On the psychological effect on the victim, she told the defendant: "This is a significant and lifelong burden for her to carry.

"You betrayed her trust in you as her protector."

'Horrific child abuse'

The case is only the fourth FGM prosecution brought to court in the UK. The previous cases led to acquittals.

John Cameron, head of the NSPCC's Childline, said: "Some cultures consider FGM a necessary part of bringing up a young girl. There may even be pressures for families to conform.

"The truth is it is a horrific form of child abuse and a criminal offence which has no place in today's society.


Earlier story


March 5, 2019

First intersex minor surgery ban bill introduced in Iowa Legislature

Des Moines (KWWL) — On Monday, a representative introduced the first intersex minor surgery ban bill [in the USA] to the Iowa Legislature.

The bill was introduced by Representative Liz Bennett.

HF 576 would ban medically unnecessary surgeries for intersex minors.

One Iowa Action Executive Director, Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, released a statement thanking Representative Bennett for introducing the bill. His full statement is below.

Thank you, Rep. Liz Bennett, for working with One Iowa Action staff to draft and introduce this groundbreaking piece of legislation. Doctors in the United States, including in Iowa, continue to perform medically unnecessary surgeries that can inflict permanent physical and psychological harm on intersex children according to a 2017 report from Human Rights Watch and interACT

The Iowa Legislature has the power to stop this practice in our state, and we urge Iowans to encourage their legislators to support HF 576. Iowa has a legacy of leading the nation on equality, and we could continue that legacy by becoming the first state to ban these unnecessary and harmful surgeries.

One Iowa Action works to preserve and advance the rights of LGBTQ Iowans.

Gay Star News

February 14, 2019

A 'milestone' as European Parliament calls for protection of intersex rights

Parliament said there was an 'urgent need to address violations of human rights of intersex people'

by Shannon Power

The European Parliament made history today (14 February) as it passed its first resolution dedicated to the ‘urgent need’ to protect the human rights of intersex people.

‘Intersex people are exposed to multiple instances of violence and discrimination in the European Union and these human rights violations remain widely unknown to the general public and policy makers,’ said the European Parliament resolution.

The resolution also pointed out the ‘urgent need to address violations of human rights of intersex people’. It called on the Commission and Member States to propose legislation to address these issues.

...Features of the resolution include condemning the medicalization and pathologization of intersex people. It also strongly condemns sex normalizing treatments and surgeries.

Intersex advocates have long called for the end of the surgeries performed on intersex infants and children. The surgeries are only banned in two European countries – Malta and Portugal.

‘Too many countries, whether in the EU or worldwide, still allow “sex normalising surgery” to be performed on intersex children, even though most of the time they are not vital and performed for “societal” or “cosmetic” reasons,’ said Anna-Maria Corazza Bildt MEP. Bildt is the shadow rapporteur for the resolution, member of the LGBTI Intergroup and co-chair of the Children’s Rights Intergroup at the European Parliament.

A milestone and landmark resolution

...Other issues addressed by the resolution include the need of adequate counselling and support for intersex people and their families, and increased funding for intersex-led civil society organisations.

During the debate which preceded the voting, members of the European Parliament almost unanimously spoke in favour of the resolution and emphasised that ‘human rights violations experienced by [intersex people] are significant’. Many also argued that ‘there is nothing unhealthy about being intersex’. [Or male.]

Minister Delegate George Ciamba who represents the Romanian presidency said ‘extending the right to equal treatment to intersex people is entirely within the spirit of our common European values and of our common campaign for inclusiveness’.

OII Europe co-chair, Miriam van der Have said the resolution has set a clear agenda for what the next steps are to protect intersex people’s rights.

‘Putting an end to genital mutilation of intersex infants and children is a matter of urgency and the European Parliament is very clear about that,’ van der Have said.

[Here is the full text of the resolution.]

More genital cutting madness


February 8, 2019

Tanzania male MPs face circumcision call to stop HIV spread

A female MP in Tanzania has called for checks to determine whether or not her male colleagues have undergone circumcision - a procedure known to reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

Jackline Ngonyani said any MPs found not to have been circumcised should be required to undergo the procedure.

Her suggestion divided opinion among her colleagues.

HIV is seen as a major threat to public health in Tanzania. Around 70% of the male population is circumcised.

Around 5% of Tanzania's adult population is believed to have been infected by HIV - giving it the 13th highest rate of infection in the world, according to figures from 2016.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual men contracting HIV by around 60%.

Several African countries that are fighting HIV epidemics have launched campaigns to encourage men to undergo the procedure, which involves surgically removing the foreskin from the penis.

Ms Ngonyani made the comments during a debate in parliament about how to curb the spread of HIV in the country.

Her suggestion was backed by MP Joseph Selasini.

In neighbouring Kenya, some top politicians voluntarily submitted to the procedure in 2008 as a way of encouraging men from their communities to do the same.

However, MP Joseph Kasheku opposed Ms Ngonyani's proposal, describing it as uncouth and invasive.

[And futile:]


HIV Rates:

Cut men


Intact men


Source: measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/CR22/CR22.pdf

Gay Star News

February 5, 2019

California may become the first state to limit intersex surgery on children

It's largely considered unnecessary and cosmetic

by Anya Crittenton

Lawmakers in California introduced a bill on Monday (4 February) aiming to limit intersex surgery on children.

Intersex people are born with atypical sex characteristics, including variations in the chromosomes, genitalia, gonads, or sex hormones. For almost a century, doctors have been performing surgery on those born with these variations.

Recent information and activism, however, have decried intersex surgery as both simply cosmetic and actively harmful.

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D) introduced SB-201 as its sponsor.

Per its language, the bill does not outright ban intersex surgery. Instead, it limits doctors’ abilities to perform it on minors.

SB-201 prohibits a surgeon from ‘performing any treatment or intervention on the sex characteristics of an intersex minor if the treatment or intervention may be deferred until the intersex minor can provide informed consent’.

The bill, however, does permit a surgeon to perform on an intersex minor if the procedure is deemed ‘medically necessary’.

‘Everyone deserves autonomy about who they are and what medically unnecessary surgeries they undergo,’ Wiener said in a statement.

‘This legislation allows individuals to choose for themselves if and when they undergo life-altering medical procedures. Parents and doctors have a critically important role to play in the health and well-being of their children, but we should not deprive individuals of the right to choose whether to undergo invasive surgeries that are cosmetic, medically unnecessary, and associated with long-term permanent health consequences.’

Last year, Wiener introduced another piece of legislation on intersex rights.

Concerns of the bill and this surgery

The California Medical Association (CMA) expressed ‘serious concerns’ regarding the bill. They specifically highlight the bill’s lacking definition of when a minor is old enough to consent.

Janus Norman, senior vice president for CMA’s governmental relations, said: ‘Our concern is that the approach in this bill may be being overly prescriptive and not give families and medical professionals the ability to take the specifics of each case into account.’

Intersex advocates, however, are hailing the bill as a victory.

Organization InterACT is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Kimberly Zieselman, Executive Director of interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, said: ‘Attempting to erase these natural differences perpetuates a message of shame, stigma, and homophobia. Medicine evolves alongside social acceptance, and this bill sends a clear message:  there’s no rush to perform these surgeries on infants.’

Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur called unnecessary intersex surgery a ‘critical human rights issues’ and praised California for leading the way.

The Guardian

February 1, 2018

Mother of three-year-old is first person convicted of FGM in UK

Ugandan woman from east London was accused of mutilating daughter in 2017

by Hannah Summers and Rebecca Ratcliffe

The mother of a three-year-old girl has become the first person to be found guilty of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK in a landmark case welcomed by campaigners.

The Ugandan woman, 37, and her Ghanaian partner, 43, both from Walthamstow, east London, were accused of cutting their daughter over the 2017 summer bank holiday.

While the parents were on bail, police searched the mother’s home and found evidence of witchcraft, including spells aimed at silencing professionals involved in the case. Police found spells written inside 40 frozen limes and two ox tongues with screws embedded in them with the apparent aim of keeping police, social workers and lawyers quiet. 

The defendants, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denied FGM and an alternative charge of failing to protect a girl from risk of genital mutilation. The mother cried in the dock as she was found guilty of FGM after the Old Bailey jury deliberated for less than a day. Her partner was cleared of all charges.

FGM was made illegal in the UK more than three decades ago but prosecutors have struggled to secure a conviction.

Lynette Woodrow, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “We can only imagine how much pain this vulnerable young girl suffered and how terrified she was. A three-year-old has no power to resist or fight back.

“Her mother then coached her to lie to the police so she wouldn’t get caught but this ultimately failed. We will not hesitate to prosecute those who commit this sickening offence.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for FGM, Commander Ivan Balhatchet, said: “We have always been clear that prosecutions alone will not stop this abuse, however this guilty verdict sends a strong message that police will make every effort possible to pursue those committing this heinous crime.”

Campaigners said they hoped the conviction would encourage other victims to report the crime.


There have been three other trials involving FGM – two in London and one in Bristol – all of which ended in acquittals. The crime carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

The judge, Philippa Whipple, warned of a “lengthy” jail term as she remanded the woman in custody to be sentenced on 8 March. ...

The defendants claimed their daughter had been reaching for a biscuit when she fell and cut herself on the edge of a kitchen cupboard. Medical experts confirmed the cause of her injuries were consistent with cutting rather than a fall.

The victim later told specially trained officers during a series of video interviews played to the court that she had been cut by a “witch”.


Charlotte Proudman, a leading barrister who specialises in FGM, ... questioned if health workers were fulfilling their mandatory reporting duties, and highlighted a legal loophole that meant professionals only had to report cases in which children had already undergone FGM, rather than those also deemed to be at risk.

Leyla Hussein, a social activist and survivor of FGM, said ...“It’s positive this girl got justice but as an FGM survivor I can’t help thinking the system failed her. Her mother has committed a crime and we need to be honest about that. But she could have been informed about FGM through her GP or midwife.”


South African Jewish Report

January 17, 2018

Rare haemophilia revealed after bris

A baby boy born in Cape Town is critically ill with haemophilia, which came to light when he did not stop bleeding after his Brit Milah.

by Tali Feinberg

“This case is unprecedented,” says Dr Dean Gersun, who is also a mohel. “In fact, the mohel helped to detect the condition, as this was the first time in 43 years of doing Brit Milah that he could not stop the bleeding. Therefore, he realised something was wrong.”

Gersun emphasises that the actual Brit Milah was perfect, and it was thanks to the mohel’s training and experience that the baby’s underlying condition was picked up.

“As regards the actual Brit Milah performed, we wish to reassure the community that this was not the cause of the undiagnosed underlying condition,” says Dr Richard Friedland, the Chairperson of the Regulatory Board of Brit Milah in South Africa.

The child’s parents confirm that their son has “a rare genetic blood disorder called haemophilia, in which he has a deficiency of the protein blood factors [resulting in his] blood not clotting properly. Generally, people who have haemophilia are missing only one factor, but our son is missing three factors. He is one in 100 000 people who have inherited combination haemophilia.”

The child’s case is so rare, he is the first documented patient in South Africa to have this specific haemophilia, and there are less than 200 documented cases in the world.

In spite of the rarity of the condition, “Halacha broadly deliberates upon how the Jewish obligation to circumcise an eight-day-old male infant is affected by haemophilia,” writes Samuel Reisman in his paper, “Haemophilia in Jewish Tradition and Genomes”. Reisman is pursuing a degree in biology at Touro College in New York City, and he received a Bachelor’s of Talmudic Law from Beis Medrash Gavoah in 2012.

“The Talmud rules that after two separate occurrences in which brothers haemorrhaged and died at circumcision, the third son should not be circumcised,” he continues.

If this is the case, why has it never been a concern to check for the condition before a Brit Milah? “Because it is usually picked up before the Brit Milah because of a family history of haemophilia,” says Gerson. “And if there is no family history, it is usually discovered during the bumps and bruises of birth, or from the pinpricks a baby undergoes in the hospital.”

[But it has only been known since the early 19th century that haemophilia is carried by the mother on an X chromosome, and not transmitted by the father to his sons.]

Speaking to the SA Jewish Report, Reisman says he’s not sure why routine haemophilia screening is not implemented. “Generally, routine screening is implemented if a condition fulfils at least the following criteria: it is relatively common or if it has extremely high morbidity or mortality rate; it can be tested for with high sensitivity and specificity; and it can be effectively treated. Haemophilia testing is highly accurate and treatable, but I suspect the reason it is not routinely tested for is that it is not common, and mortality from haemophilia is exceedingly low.

“The rarity of having such a severe mixed coagulation disorder raises questions whether a routine screening programme for all newborns is practical. However, there are rarer conditions screened for routinely in the United States if they have high morbidity and there are treatments,” he says.

Dr Rosie Schwyzer, a paediatric haematology and oncology expert based in Johannesburg, says that haemophilia appears in one in 5 000 males, and it would be difficult to test routinely for the condition. If a family is concerned, she recommends looking at family history for any bleeding disorders in males or menstrual issues in females. Only about 30% of haemophilia cases are not hereditary. She points out that, “Any significant bleeding after a circumcision needs to be taken note of. Mothers must be empowered to trust their instinct if there is bleeding and it doesn’t seem right.”

Ultimately, Jewish tradition notes the risks of circumcising a baby with haemophilia, but emphasises that it is mainly a hereditary condition. “Many haematology and medical textbooks acknowledge that the first recorded description of haemophilia and genetically transmitted disease is found in the Talmud,” writes Reisman.

“The Talmudic description of haemophilia was two millennia ahead of its time, as the first modern description was recorded in 1803. Perhaps the Talmudic scholars were in a good position to notice this disorder and its hereditary patterns empirically because the universal Jewish practice of circumcision on the eighth day after birth facilitated the prompt diagnosis of bleeding disorders.”

In his paper, “Haemophilia and circumcision – from observation to classification: connecting a Talmudic presumption with a modern diagnosis”, University of Michigan Professor Daniel Eisenberg agrees with this view. “The story of haemophilia in Jewish law provides a fascinating insight into the observational powers of the rabbis.

“We also see the flexibility of Jewish law, and how it responds to up-to-date medical information to provide accurate Halachic rulings. It should give at least a small degree of humility to our modern minds to realise that rabbis in Israel, many centuries before the first medical description of haemophilia, had not only recognised its inheritance pattern, but had established laws to guard the health of babies who might have the disease.”

Meanwhile, the family of the little boy in Cape Town has thanked all the medical staff who are caring for their son, and the community for its ongoing support.


January 17, 2019

UK Government seeks experiences of people with intersex traits for first time

Historic moment as Government Equalities Office announces launch of Variations In Sex Characteristics Call For Evidence

by Valentino Vecchietti

I am [a]n intersex stakeholder for the UK Government Equalities Office (GEO). For many months, along with others, I have been working with a dedicated team at the GEO. Today, I am happy to announce that the GEO launched the Variations In Sex Characteristics Call For Evidence.

This is a remarkable and historic moment because it is the first time the UK Government has sought to record the experiences of people with intersex variations, their families, and the people who support them. Key areas will be: Healthcare, Education, Support Services, Benefits, and the Workplace – this is much needed work because currently many UK intersex people face huge inequalities in numerous aspects of society, including medical interventions such as nonconsensual, nonessential, genital surgeries in infancy and childhood. In the GEO press release, Baroness Williams, the Minister For Equalities said:

“It is concerning to think that people in the UK may be afraid to visit the doctor or feel unable to take part at school because they are not receiving the support they need or deserve.

"Everyone in this country has a right to an education, healthcare and to go about their daily life without intrusion or fear of humiliation. "This call for evidence is a chance for us to learn more about people’s everyday lives, and I look forward to hearing more about their experiences.”

Intersex and Variations In Sex Characteristics (VSC) are umbrella terms for those of us who are born with physical variations in our hormones, chromosomes, and/or internal or external genitalia, which do not fit typical definitions of "male" or "female".

There are over 40 variations, amongst which are: Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), Hypospadias, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), and Klinefelters. Recently the UK Government’s intention to launch a call for evidence has been misreported by the media as a "Consultation".

A Consultation is a process of gathering views on Government’s legislative or policy proposals. There are currently no such processes regarding intersex people. In fact, Variations In Sex Characteristics is not even included in the Equalities Act 2010. The call for evidence is an information gathering process. As a campaigner and leading member of the UK intersex movement, I very much hope that this is the beginning of a process that will lead to a shift towards equality rights for intersex people living in the UK.

The call for evidence is open to everyone, of all ages. For those of you reading this now, who have variations in your sex characteristics: your voice matters. This is an opportunity for you to let UK Government know what your experiences are. All information will be treated in confidence and with sensitivity.

The call for evidence will run for 10 weeks from the 17 January to 28 March 2019. Once the call for evidence has closed, the Government will review and analyse the responses, and publish a report. Respond to the call for evidence here.

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