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It is an unusual lawsuit that two parents have filed against doctors, but their claim is that doctors were grossly negligent when they performed a sex-assignment surgery on their then-16-month-old child, knowing that there was a significant chance that they were choosing the wrong gender. If the parents are successful, this could be a landmark pediatric medical malpractice lawsuit that could influence how other intersex conditions are dealt with in Ohio.

Very shortly after he was born, the child was determined to have both male and female genitalia. Instead of allowing the child to develop and choose which gender he identified with, the child underwent an operation as a toddler that removed all male genitalia. Unfortunately for the boy and his parents, the surgeons chose the wrong gender and the now-8 year old identifies as male.

There is considerable debate in Ohio and across the country on how to handle intersex children. Some doctors and parents wish to wait until a child has started developing before undertaking any surgical procedures (assuming any procedures are requested). Others will insist on operating, guessing as to what gender the child should be, yet there is a very real risk that they will guess incorrectly, leaving the child with a body that does not match his or her gender.

The child’s parents recognize that their son has had an irreversible sex-assignment surgery that marks him as female, despite the fact that he identifies as male. While he has been able to transition and live as a boy, he faces a tough road ahead of him.