The High Court of Madras has decided recently to protect the rights of intersex children. This is a monumentally progressive stance that has been taken, and Justice GR Swaminathan was quoted with the following words:
“When a child is born it is usually endowed with male genitalia or female genitalia. But there are children who are born with genitalia that belong to neither category. They are known as intersex children. They must be given time and space to find their true gender identity. But the parents make the infant undergo sex reassignment surgery.”
– Justice GR Swaminathan
Justice K Chandru (formerly a judge of the Madras High Court) was cited from a ruling in 2007 by Justice Swaminathan. Chandru expressed how the consent of a parent cannot be considered as that of the child.
Elegantly, the 2007 ruling included the following quote from Khalil Gibran, the 19th century poet:
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life. They come through you but not from you and though they are with you they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls. For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent.”
– Khalil Gibran
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Whilst the high court ruling does not apply to the entire of India, it does show that the sentiment is there to respect the consent and future choices of intersex children until they are mature enough to make a decision over their own bodies.