I was born with a Cleft Palate by Carol Robson

I was born with a Cleft Palate by Carol Robson

My story:
I was born in 1948 with a cleft palate.  My palate repair was carried out at the Weston Children’s Hospital in Sheffield when I was two years of age.  For the following years until I was about thirteen years of age I attended hospital out patient departments for mainly dental and lower jaw problems, I also talked with a stammer for several years. In 1996 I needed an operation which is called a Le Forte Osteotomy (my top jaw was broken and moved forward 8mm. I had 4 titanium plates with 17 screws holding my jaw together and my jaws were wired together for 3 months) this was to correct my bite which was a problem arising from the scarring of the original palate repair, the whole procedure including later removal of the plates and wearing braces on my teeth for 3 years has been very successful. Cleft Palate repairs are now being done on children at a very younger age but many still need treatment as they get older and even as adults.

If you have a family member or friend affected by Cleft Lip or Palate please support this group.  CLAPA

Copyright Carol Robson 2011


Intersex Children and all Children’s Human Rights by Carol Robson BMedSci (Hons)

Intersex Children and all Children’s Human Rights


Carol Robson BMedSci (Hons)


The other day I came across this rather disturbing article about very young girls in a region of India being converted to boys, read here; http://www.hindustantimes.com/Docs-turn-baby-girls-into-boys/Article1-713863.aspx

When reading this article I became more horrified that many of these girls may well not have what we call an Intersex condition (Intersex refers to atypical internal and/or external anatomical sexual characteristics, where features usually regarded as male or female may be mixed at varying degrees, they used to be more commonly known as Hermaphrodites)

However, it appears that many families are so keen on having a son that they willing to have a daughter converted (articles word not mine) to a son and they are given extensive hormone treatment, which gives a belief that this a cultural/societal and even a patriarchal concept.  Even if this treatment is successful which I doubt very much, with reference that history tells us a different story on this subject, these so-called sons will be infertile and will not be able to keep a family lineage going.

Anyway let us be honest, this is disgusting, rights of children totally ignored, even if these children have an intersex condition they should be treated as the majority of intersex children already are, let these children taste puberty then they can make their own decisions on their gender.  No matter how much male hormone treatment they give these girls they will not as far as I’m concerned reverse their brain gender, which is developed during foetal development in the womb, therefore, it is nature not nurture.  I do really fear for these children when they reach puberty, physically they may look like boys, but their brains may well be telling them something different.  Medical history tells us how screwed up these children might finish up.  The David Reimer case is an example of this, although not born intersex, his penis was accidentally destroyed during a circumcision procedure and he was raised as a girl and it all went wrong when he reached puberty; read here:


Although the Yogyakarta Principles are not legally binding themselves, they were adopted (March 2007) as an interpretation of already binding agreements from the view point of sexual orientation and gender identity. Therefore, these Principles are persuasive in shaping an understanding of existing binding human rights obligations which relate to people who are sex and gender diverse.  On the subject of intersex children these principles state:

“This definition protects the right of people who are intersex to choose freely their gender identity. In particular, Principle 18 of the Yogyakarta Principles outlines the right to be protected from medical abuses based on gender identity: No person may be forced to undergo any form of medical or psychological treatment, procedure, testing, or be confined to a medical facility, based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Notwithstanding any classifications to the contrary, a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity are not, in and of themselves, medical conditions and are not to be treated, cured or suppressed”  http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org/principles_en.htm

Therefore, let us get it right, that children born with an intersex condition should be afforded the same human rights as anyone else.  What is happening in the aforementioned article breaks all human rights, if these girls are not intersex or being operated on to save their life, but are basically being operated on and given hormone treatments to be boys because of certain family wishes then are not these societies just going against the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which applies to all children and young people aged 17 and under?  The Convention is separated into 54 ‘articles’: most of these give children social, economic, cultural or civil and political rights; while others set out how governments must publicise or implement the Convention. http://www.unicef.org/crc/

Now published in Verita Magazine

copyright 2011 Carol Robson