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Dexamethasone, why?

Some of you may have heard about a recent article detailing the intent of one Dr. Maria New to use an experimental in-utero drug to encourage heterosexuality and normative gender behavior in XX individuals with CAH. Now, I imagine few will disagree that using medicine to preemptively cure homosexuality and bisexuality is unethical at best (given that neither is recognized as a medical condition nor have been shown to cause risk to the individual), and that trying to prevent such gems of human diversity as “lower interest… in getting married and performing the traditional child-care/housewife role” is beyond ridiculous. But there’s one other thing that I would like to bring up now: why the shithell does this drug even exist in the first place?

The drug Dr. New is proposing to (ab)use for her purposes, dexamethasone (or “dex”), is an experimental drug for “preventing development of ambiguous genitalia in girls with CAH” or Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. Now, CAH has a variety of causes, some of which do not develop into intersex conditions (as ambiguous genitalia would be classified). While some varieties of CAH do have serious medical repercussions, even leading to death, which overlap with some varieties that lead to ambiguous genitalia in XX individuals, dex does not propose to prevent or treat those repercussions. Instead it focuses on creating “normal” genitalia. Intersex conditions are very often simple benign variations in genital formation (and, later, some secondary sex characteristics), sometimes leading physicians to scritch their heads over which letter to put on a child’s birth certificate. Because of this confusion on the parts of the doctors, intersex children are often subjected to repeated “corrective” surgeries to “normalize” their genitalia (repeated because they tend not to work the first time), though thankfully a growing portion of the medical community no longer supports this. And now we have this, a drug designed to treat the benign effects of a disorder. There’s hard earned grant money being spent on this drek. Not to mention that, though it has proceeded to human trials, the previous animal trials were not very promising: ” There is evidence from animal studies that prenatal dex treatment leads to neurotoxicity…”

So, a subset of the medical community has put the normative binary model of “normal” genitalia ahead of the health of a group of children who were already potentially going to be abused and mutilated by doctors. Maria New, despite her ideas being a serious threat to human diversity and just being nice to others, only really factors in to my objection to this drug as an afterthought.