Janik Bastien-Charlebois (3rd from front, leftmost) @ 3. Intersex Forum 2013 in Malta
Bearing witness to IGM – to end it! The more people know specifics about IGM Practices, the sooner these gross human rights violations in children’s clinics around the globe will be HISTORY.
This blog says KUDOS to Janik Bastien-Charlebois:
Shortly before my 17 birthday, my mom once told me, as we were driving in her car, that if I wanted a free surgery, I had to submit myself to one before I turned 18. Else it would be considered a cosmetic surgery and I would have to pay for it – something that would be pretty expensive to the point of being inaccessible for the young person I was. I was faced with an ultimatum. I did not desire surgery, but I was still unsure as to whether I would be loved as I was, and was afraid that finding that out after 18 would represent a risk. And then, wasn’t it what I had to do after all? «Sicknesses» and «malformations» are to be cured, not kept. And though I was offered a «choice», the very fact that it was offered where others are not conveys the message that it should be. The very fact that I had my clitoris touched and prodded in my youth had made me understand it was not entirely mine and that it would make sense that medicine remove whatever it is that it finds too much in it.
I was 17 when I went to see a doctor to have my genitals examined one last time, asking again if I «felt something». He told me that if I underwent the surgery, I would lose some sensation. I said fine. Sexuality was foreign to me, as I was submerged in a dominant and pervasive heterosexual culture. So yeah, «fine». And so I signed a consent form for a surgery at Sainte-Justine Hospital. I remember feeling uneasy about the terms, which were implying that that was my decision and my decision alone, castigating me in advance for doubts or second thoughts I could have. Dispossessed and overwhelmed, I went through the conformation machine like an automaton on rails.
The sickness of post-operative treatment and the pain of the wound hit hard. I never experienced such stabbing pains in my life, as nerves were dying out – nor was told I would be subjected to them. And I never expected my post-op genitals would look like a scary swollen «whatever» – nor was told they would look so. I remember one fleeting lucidity moment, as I lay on my bed on the first night after my surgery, looking at my hospital room ceiling thinking: «One day I’ll have to deal with all of this». Self-protection is strong, however. It would not fully resurface until 18 years later, and then only in progressive steps.