You are reading

Opinion: Dromm Says Don’t Forget the “I” in LGBTQIA+

Photo Provided By Office of Councilmember Daniel Dromm

June 25, 2021 Op-Ed By: Council Member Daniel Dromm

I founded Queens Pride 29 years ago to be a welcoming space for all the borough’s diverse communities.

Through the years, I excitedly watched as this colorful celebration, with a serious political message, grew. It seems every country is now represented. The transgender presence, always there from the beginning, is ubiquitous at this point.

Many others of all stripes flock to an event that is grounded in family, friends, and neighbors, not corporations. And, of course, so many straight allies have come to stand with us, which always makes me swell with emotion.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm (Photo: NYC Council)

If asked to distill the essence of Pride, I would say it is about creating a home for all who do not conform to rigid societal notions of gender and sexuality. One group is taking this a step further and challenging the idea of what “normal” bodies should look like: the intersex community.

“Intersex” is an umbrella term for differences in sex traits or reproductive anatomy. Intersex people are born with these differences or develop them in childhood.

There are many possible differences in genitalia, hormones, internal anatomy, or chromosomes, compared to the usual two ways that human bodies develop. According to the United Nations, up to 1.7 percent of the world population are born with intersex traits.

Medical professionals often encourage parents and guardians to agree to procedures to treat intersex traits and variations in sex characteristics, even when such procedures are medically unnecessary.

Despite the prevalence of these violations of basic human rights, there is no federal or state law prohibiting such procedures.

Much of the work of the intersex community is aimed at ensuring decisions around intersex bodies are based on informed consent and selfdetermination, principals that should be very familiar to LGBTQIA+ and other liberation movements.

New York City has been leading the way in seeking justice for the intersex community. In April of this year, the NYC Council passed my legislation requiring the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to conduct a public information and outreach campaign regarding medically unnecessary treatments on individuals born with intersex traits or variations in sex characteristics.

Most notably, the input of members of the intersex community will play a key role in the development of this program. With proper information, New Yorkers will now be more likely to understand the adverse effects of coercive “normalizing” medical interventions.

Prompted by this legislation and the work of advocates, NYC Health + Hospitals has decided to
end the practice of medically unnecessary surgeries on children with intersex traits.

Sadly, other prominent institutions, including Weill Cornell, still prey upon the unfounded fears of parents and guardians in pursuit of lucrative yet unethical practices. I applaud this tremendous step forward and hope that it will encourage private hospitals in the city to follow suit.

We cannot as an LGBTQIA+ movement, or as a society for that matter, say that we respect the right to bodily integrity and the foundational concept of consent yet ignore the injustices perpetrated by much of the medical establishment against our intersex siblings. So let’s celebrate the “I” this Pride Month and commit to ending this particularly insidious form of violence!

To learn more about the intersex community and find out how you can help, visit interactadvocates.org.

  • *CM Daniel Dromm is the NYC Council Member for District 25 representing Jackson Heights & Elmhurst

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Raga sworn in as first-ever Filipino American elected to the state Legislature

More than 300 community members attended the historic inauguration of Assemblyman Steven Raga as the first Filipino American elected to office in New York state.

Many who attended the swearing-in event at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park wore traditional and cultural attire to the event at the building that once housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations from 1946 to 1950 until its current home in Manhattan became available for the world body.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.