AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin City Council on Thursday passed a resolution to condemn non-consensual and medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children.
The vote also directs the city manager’s office to explore “methods to implement a public education campaign to provide accurate information regarding intersex healthcare.”
Alicia Roth Weigel, an intersex advocate and member of the City of Austin Human Rights Commission, led the push for the resolution. She underwent surgery as an infant that left her unable to bear children.
Weigel told KXAN she was 27 years old when she read an article in Vogue Magazine and realized what her childhood procedure was really about.
“When you are born intersex, you are told by doctors and society that you are a problem and you need to be fixed,” Weigel said. “Really, there is nothing broken with your body in the first place. You were just born different.”
There have been attempts to ban these types of surgeries at the state level. Most recently, a bill from Rep. Ana Hernandez (D-Houston) was unable to make it through the House of Representatives during the regular legislative session in March.
A similar proposal in California stalled in April.
The resolution passed by Austin’s city council was drafted by Mayor Pro-Tem Natasha Harper-Madison and co-sponsored by Mayor Steve Adler and council members Pio Renteria, Greg Casar, and Paige Ellis.
“Each letter of the LGBTQIA represents an Austinite who is an important part of our community,” said Mayor Adler in a statement. “Today’s council resolution is a human rights action which will help parents and physicians – through public information – make informed decisions to prevent intersex individuals from having life-altering choices about sex and gender identity forced upon them.”
The resolution was part of the meeting’s consent agenda which passed unanimously, however, Council Member Mackenzie Kelly asked the record to show a ‘no’ vote from her on the specific item. Kelly called the issue “important” but said she feels it is not the place of the municipal government to step in.
“I think [intersex surgery] is a decision that should be made in a family, or together with your doctor,” Kelly said.