First Do Harm: How Intersex Kids Are Hurt by those Who Have Taken the Hippocratic Oath


  • Pidgeon Pagonis


Pidgeon Pagonis is intersex, meaning that similar to one in 2000 people, they were born with sex characteristics not easily categorised as either male or female. This article critiques the Concealed Non-Consensual Surgery model (‘CNCS’) that dominates intersex treatment via illuminating discrepancies between the model, which Pagonis and others have endured, and the Hippocratic Oath. Instead of the current CNCS model, which has caused harm to so many, Pagonis offers alternatives that centre on psychologists and support groups, instead of unnecessary surgeries.

Author Biography

Pidgeon Pagonis

Pidgeon--recently recognized by the White House as an LGBT Champion of Change--is an intersex person and activist fighting for their community’s human rights and liberation. For over 10 years, they’ve educated audiences about the intersex movement for bodily autonomy and justice via writing, speaking, keynotes, panels, art, workshops and screenings of their documentary, The Son I Never Had.  Pidgeon aims to help audiences understand and deconstruct dangerous myths that continually lead to intersex people’s human rights being violated by the medical industrial complex as it enforces society’s unflinching sex and gender norms. Pidgeon hopes to contribute to the creation of a world that is not only safer for intersex kids and adults, but everyone who doesn’t fit within our current austere gender binary. 


A Articles/Books/Reports

Barbin, Herculine, Michel Foucault (ed) and Richard McDougall (trans), Herculine Barbin: being the recently discovered memoirs of a nineteenth century French hermaphrodite (Harvester Press, 1980)

Blackless, M et al, ‘How sexually dimorphic are we? Review and synthesis’ (2000) 12(2) American Journal of Human Biology 151

B Cases

Re: Carla (Medical procedure) [2016] FamCA 7

C Other

AIS-DSD Support Group, Home (2017) <>

AIS Support Group Australia, Peer Support, Information and Advocacy for Intersex People and their Families (10 March 2017) <>

AsapSCIENCE, We were all female (10 January 2013) YouTube <>

InterACT, Our Advocacy (2016) <>

Morgan, The Family Court case Re: Carla (Medical procedure) [2016] FamCA 7 (8 December 2016) <>

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, A step forward for intersex visibility and human rights (25 September 2015) <>

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Fact sheet: Intersex (2015) <>

Senate Community Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia (2013) 86

Tamar-Mattis, Anne, Anne Tamar-Mattis – Publications (2017) ResearchGate <>

UN Free & Equal, Intersex Awareness (2016) <>






Gender, Culture, and Narrative Special Issue