Nepal family stigmatised for child's indeterminate sex
May 15, 2007 - 11:49:44 AM

Kathmandu, May 15 - An impoverished labourer's family in south Nepal is being stigmatised for having given birth to a child of indeterminate sex.

Madan Patel, a resident of Chhoti Fulbari village in Bara district in Nepal's Terai plains, and his wife Jangee have become the butt of neighbours' ridicule and contempt after giving birth to a child who has both male and female sex organs, said Blue Diamond Society -, which defends gay rights in Nepal.

In the Terai plains, where illiteracy and poverty prevail, a male child is prized whereas a female child is regarded as a burden.

Stressed under the mounting social pressure, the parents are trying to bring up the child as a boy and are running from pillar to post to raise money for a sex re-assignment surgery.

'The family is facing a lot of bullying because of the child being born inter-sexed,' said Sunil Pant, president of BDS.

'Interestingly, the child has been given a male name though our local network tells us the female sex organ is predominant. The family is desperate to do sex reassignment surgery as obviously they want a son.

'But sex reassignment surgery at this early age can't be right as no one knows now how the child will grow up later in terms of gender identity and expression,' he added.

When the child was just four-months-old, the beleaguered family went to India to seek treatment since such sex reassignment surgery has never been performed in Nepal before.

However, they came back disappointed since the money required for such an operation in India was beyond their means.

Pant says his organisation is opposing the surgery and wants to provide support to the parents to let the child grow up first to see which gender identity prevails.

'Surgery will not fix the child's gender identity, and could seriously damage the physique,' Pant said. 'In South America, where gay rights are strong, a human rights organisation can bring a law suit and protect the right of the child.'

This week, the family is arriving in Kathmandu on BDS' invitation. The organisation says it will support the six-month-old child.

'There are some medical conditions associated with intersexuality,' the BDS said. 'The first thing to do is to grant access to proper medical attention.'

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