Protest: Chicago intersex activists demand Lurie Children’s Hospital end medically unnecessary surgery

Stop harming intersex children
On Intersex Awareness Day at midday, a protest took place outside Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, including advocates Pidgeon Pagonis and Sean Saifa Wall, with support from members of For the People Artist’s Collective, Chicago Black Trans & Gender Non-Conforming Collective and Dyke March Chicago Collective.

Photos: Love and Struggle Photos, courtesy of Pidgeon Pagonis.

CHICAGO 10/26: Chicago Intersex activist and filmmaker Pidgeon Pagonis, a national leader in the fight for intersex rights, is a survivor of numerous medical procedures described as “corrective” measures, performed at Children’s Memorial Hospital (now Lurie) during their childhood.

“When I was a child, doctors at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital chose my sex and performed multiple surgeries to make my intersex body conform to their choice,” says Pagonis. “We are uniting in protest at Lurie, demanding they change policy to become the first hospital in the US to ban unnecessary intersex surgery.”

Chicago’s largest LGBT center, Center on Halsted, has endorsed a moratorium on medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex kids. Human Rights Watch, United Nations experts, the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, every major LGBT legal organization in the US, three former US surgeons general, American Medical Association Board of Trustees, the AIS-DSD support group for intersex people and their families, and intersex-led organizations around the world have called for an end to medically unnecessary non-consensual surgeries on intersex kids.

The Sex Development Program (SDP) at Lurie Children’s Hospital will host the AIS-DSD Intersex Support Group’s conference in the summer of 2018 in Chicago. While AIS-DSD wants to end medically unnecessary non-consensual surgeries, Lurie Children’s continues to advertise the procedures on their website. We’re hoping the SDP will choose to become a leader in the nation by instituting an immediate ban on all medically unnecessary genital and gonadal surgeries on intersex children by the time they host the conference.

Lurie Children's Hospital response

High Priority Message from Lurie Children’s Hospital to its staff. Photo: via Pidgeon

Prior to the event, the hospital distributed a message to its staff. This did not name the purpose of the demonstration but described it as an “extreme position”.

Date and time: Thursday, 26 October, at 12:00 pm CST
Location: Lurie Children’s Hospital, 225 E. Chicago Ave, Chicago (live stream at

More information at

Press report by Linze Rice at DNA Info
Press report by Windy City Media