By Dr. Arlene Baratz,
interACT Medical Research & Policy Committee Chair
A landmark study, Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQI Populations, was released this week by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). It finds that:
Conversion therapy to change sexual orientation or gender identity can cause significant and life-long trauma, as can elective genital surgeries on children with intersex traits that are performed early in life before children can participate in consent.
This peer-reviewed report presents the evidence-based consensus of a committee of experts, including, for the first time, an intersex person. The consensus committee consistently found a lack of data on people with intersex traits, particularly at the population level, and especially relative to other sexual and gender diverse populations, across domains of wellbeing.
A number of recommendations regarding further research and data collection by governmental and non-governmental agencies was made. Perhaps the most significant of these for intersex people are that these agencies should routinely assess for intersex status, and that funders should focus on methodological research that includes intersex status.
NASEM are private, nonprofit institutions that perform investigations and provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the world to help shape sound policies and inform public opinion.