The Australian Institute for Genital Autonomy (AIGA) was founded in May 2013 on the first anniversary of a court decision in Cologne (Köln) on 7 May 2012 of “Re: Dr K”, where a District Court held that genital surgery on a child without any therapeutic need is a breach of the child’s human rights, and an assault at law. In December of 2012 the German Parliament (Bundestag) under intense political pressure passed a law to make legal what was illegal. That law has yet to be tested against the Human Rights Protections guaranteed in the German “Basic Law” and against the European Convention Human Rights and other Human Rights treaties to which Germany is a party.
AIGA was constituted as a 10-member Management Committee who meet regularly to shape and advance the work and structure of AIGA, and a general membership body.
Individuals and organisations can become members of AIGA by lodging an application and small annual subscription.
AIGA is an incorporated association formed under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (Queensland). In March 2014 its name was formally changed to the Australasian Institute for Genital Autonomy, as Australia and New Zealand share many common values and a common cultural and legal history. It has links with like-minded GA organisations all over the world. There are GA groups in other countries originating in GA (UK) a registered charity with tax deductible donation status. GA groups can also be found in Finland (Project INTACT), Canada and Germany.
AIGA has a Media Relations Committee, a Website Editorial Committee, and aims to have a Speakers Panel for community groups and schools.
AIGA is establishing a Board of Consultants to guide Management in maintaining accuracy and shaping the GA message and brand.
AIGA aims to have Australia and New Zealand adopt a universal Right of Genital Autonomy in our cultures, in our laws and in our Government policy on both sides of the Tasman Sea. AIGA is concerned that there seem to be one set of rules and rights for girls, one for boys and other very vague ones for intersex babies and children.
There are separate groups in Australia and New Zealand who advocate for an end to unnecessary cutting of girls (FGM) and of boys (“circumcision” or Male Genital Mutilation) and of children born with ambiguous sex (intersex irreversible medical procedures). AIGA has observed distrust between advocates for children’s rights in the three groups, and believes this arises from misunderstanding and contributes to splintering of our common core message.
No other group in Australia or New Zealand brings these three aspects of children’s rights together under the one idea, the one umbrella. AIGA believes that this idea can only assist advocates for the different rights of girls, boys and intersex children.
AIGA recognises that changing laws is not going to stop cultural and religious practice overnight. AIGA aims to change culture and that means taking a multi-pronged approach to existing religion and practice:
- Urging governments to recognise and enforce the Right of Genital Autonomy.
- Media campaigns to raise public awareness of the Right of Genital Autonomy.
- Submissions to medical, legal policymakers to recognise and incorporate the Right of Genital Autonomy into scientific and public policy.
- Ensuring educational syllabuses on hygiene teaching children, young people and parents include accurate information about safe and proper care of their genitals.
- Providing a panel of speakers to talk with community and government groups and gatherings about the Right of Genital Autonomy for all children, girls, boys and intersex.
AIGA motto “ensuring an open future for every child” warns of the possibility of the child – once they grow into adolescence and find out what happened when they were smaller – resenting the choices their parents made and suffering grave trauma or embarking on further corrective surgery.
The message of GA is that children grow up safe and whole, so that later if they choose surgery when they understand and accept a medical, cultural or religious need for it, they can.