8-Year-Old Who Was Surgically Turned Into Girl Is Paying Hefty Price (VIDEO)

sex reassignment surgeryWe've seen a few stories about transgender children who feel strongly about dressing and living as the opposite gender they were supposedly born as. But what about children with an intersex condition -- kids born with the genitalia of both genders? Who gets to decide what their gender is, and when? One couple is suing their state social services for deciding that for their adopted son when he was just a toddler.

Mark and Pam Crawford say that their son, now 8, wants to live as a boy. But before they adopted him, when he was 16 months old, South Carolina Social Services gave the child sexual reassignment surgery that made him a girl. The suit calls it "dangerous and mutilating surgery" that took away the child's right to choose his own gender.

Of course a lawsuit isn't going to undo what the state did long ago. I can't imagine how heartbreaking this has been for the Crawford family. They must be furious. But for them, this is less about rectifying their own injustice and more about making sure the state never makes this mistake again. "It's too late for my son, but we want to put other doctors on notice," Mark Crawford says.

I'm sure the state assumed the child would be easier to adopt if the gender were clearly one or the other. But still -- how could you just decide that? What criteria did they use? (At the time of the surgery, the toddler had high levels of testosterone.) I wonder if they ever contemplated the consequences of making the wrong choice? This surgery doesn't just affect the child's identity. It can affect their health and sexual life in several significant ways. The state should have known that gender identity is not necessarily determined just by your physical attributes.

And anyway, who's to say that a family wouldn't have adopted a child with an intersex condition? There are compassionate people out there who adopt children with all kinds of severe conditions and illnesses. Not enough, clearly. But still -- this is a condition that would have resolved itself with time and surgery later on. But as for the Crawfords' child, it looks like his troubles are just beginning.

wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Should social services have gambled with the toddler's future by giving him sexual reassignment surgery?


Image via WISTV.com

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LostS... LostSoul88

well i can guarantee that the family probably would have sued wither way. Whether they made him a male or female or if they never did the surgery. It's heartbreaking for the child but the family is just after money.  For all we know there may have been something wrong with the male part of him that hasn't been disclosed since he's health records are not for public access

grayc... graycalico

Parents have been making this choice for kids like this for years. I'm surprised it wasn't done at birth. I personally would wait and find out what my child identified as but it's not really the state's fault. I'm sure they were following doctor's advice. Also we are way to stuck on gender. Just let people be who they are.

Green... GreenEyesMom

South carolina is messed on a lot of things anyways. The parents how ever couldnt have sued if the doctors never did the surgery as long as his condition was brought to their attention. I really think it should be left up to the child its their body. When they are older and understand whats going on with their body and know what they want to be then take action with their wants in mind.

An if they state was willing to pay before when they had no choice they should be able to pay when they do have a choice. Just sayin.

sylph... sylph_ironlight

@lostsoul: really? They're only after money? Do you have a child that has gone through this or had gender issues? How would you feel if your child was born one way and identified with another gender? How would you feel if you had adopted a child that had reassignment surgery to the wrong sex? They may find that the state was not at fault. They may find that the state was at fault. YOU have no right assuming that they would sue regardless of the situation.

Serab... Serabelle

I'm sure the state did what they did without malicious intent, they were just trying to help the child. Unfortunately made the wrong choice. Suing is frivolous though.

Krystal Marie

What I'm confused about is; if at the time of surgery the child did have high testosterone levels, why wouldn't they choose to have him be a male? Seems like the chemical that's highest in the body would be the right choice to me. However, I do know the it's easier to dig a hole than make a pole saying, maybe it was easier in the long run to remove the penis than try to seal the vagina?

amnew... amnewlon8982

Here's a question? What if the family is suing and wins and they plan on putting the money back for their child in case the child decides to eventually attempt a surgery that would give him the genital appearance of being a boy? Even though it might not be functional, it would at least give him the appearance of man's genitals which may do something for his self esteem when he is older. It is just a thought. At least then they would have the money to give him that option if that's his choice. Personally I believe it is something that can wait until the child is old enough to make that very important decision for himself.

nonmember avatar Lizzie Borden

I read about how they decide which gender for the child to be last year in college, there are a lot of deciding factors but one of them is looking at the chromosome. I wonder if that was done in this case, it sounds like an effective method. But in reality gender really can be fluid so these kinds of decisions can backfire. They look at not only the tissue and prescence of male/female organs but also to which hormones (male or female) the tissue is responsive to. I think it would be better to wait to do the assignment surgery but our society is so stuck on gender roles that people want a boy or girl NOW without any ambiguity.

The doctors might have done the best they could with the info they gathered at the time but that doesnt guarantee perfect results. Let the kid identify and live as he feels.

1is20... 1is202rteens

When a person is born with both parts (hermaphradite) only one set of the organs work.  So the other would just be there and not able to use at all.  The doctor's probably determined it was the vagina that was the proper organ and the penis was just there not working.  Just because the child had more testosterone doesn't mean anything.  There are plenty of bearded ladies out there


Irela... Ireland69

I hope that this little boy has all of the support from his parents.  he has a long road ahead of him.  People are so mean they don't care how people feel they can be so cruel.  No one knows that one day one of our kids or one of  our family member can have some illness or deformity etc..  and I'm sure they would want to protect them from cruel people.  Karma!

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