Portugal has announced that it will ban surgery on intersex babies.
If surgery is performed then young children can be left with scarring, torn tissue, loss of natural hormones, a lack os sexual sensitivity and sterilisation.
Intersex babies are born with both female and male genitalia.
They have surgery to “normalise” their reproductive organs and genitals.
Portugal follows Malta, which became the first country to ban unnecessary surgery on intersex children in 2015.
Amnesty International denounced the invasive surgical practice as a violation of human rights.
The report found that the surgery is often done despite it not being an emergency.
The irreversible surgery “may violate human rights, including the rights of the child, the right to physical and bodily integrity and the right to the highest attainable standard of health,” the report stated.
The European Parliament has also called for more action to protect intersex and trans people’s mental health.
The most common operations consist of hiding or enlarging the clitoris, removing the gonads, and cosmetic vaginal surgery that aims to feminise the appearance of the body.
Many of the people who experienced these types of surgeries reported a negative physical or psychological outcome both at the time and subsequently.
The report stated: “These justifications are based on deeply ingrained gender stereotypes: that gender is binary, that children will grow up to be heterosexual, and that children whose bodies are gender non-conforming will suffer psychological damage as a result.”
Amnesty claims that while in some cases there may be a medical purpose for the surgery, often it is performed to make the child fit into the ideal of a binary gender system.
The report called for governments in countries which have yet to ban the procedure to create guidelines which respect the human rights of intersex people.