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GATE Message on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM

Today is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. On this day, GATE condemns the mutilation of young girls and women to fit religious, social or cultural norms. We also condemn all forms of genital mutilation and, in particular, genital mutilation of intersex infants and children.

Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM) is routinely performed in medical settings all around the world to make intersex bodies to fit gender norms and expectations. IGM is encouraged by the the selective attention paid to some forms of genital mutilation and not others. While most policy frameworks aim to protect infants assigned female (unless they have an intersex trait) in Global South and East countries, those forms of genital mutilation affecting intersex infants and taking place in Western/Global North countries under psycho-medical rationales continue to be ignored with rare exceptions.

We call on States to put an end today to all forms of genital mutilation; to investigate IGM, its root causes and lifelong consequences; to make perpetrators fully accountable for human rights violations; and to provide victims with adequate reparation and redress.

We call on the World Health Organization to introduce a specific reference to IGM in ICD-11, to depathologize bodily diversity, to make decisive steps towards ensuring that no intersex body will be subjected to genital mutilation or similar medically unnecessary and unconsented ‘normalizing’ procedures regardless of their sex assignment. We call for the accessible provision of psycho-medical treatment for IGM victims, in ways that are compatible with human rights norms.

We call social and political movements to join our struggle to end the shame, silence and stigma associated with bodily diversity, including the diversity of bodies that vary from female and male standards; to work with us dismantling the sometimes overwhelming pressure to conform to gender norms –including that emanating from social conventions, legal provisions and religious precepts; and to commit today to the goal of building together a world free of all forms of genital mutilation.

In solidarity,

The GATE Team

February 6th, 2017