Gender, Sex, and Shame: Lessons Learned by a Pediatric Endocrinologist

The long-held approach to the care of children with problems relating to their sex development involved the arbitrary assignment of sex, appearance-altering surgery, and the keeping of secrets from children and their parents. During the past 20 years, a patient advocacy movement has brought about changes in practice that relieves these children of the shame that was inflicted on them by generations of physicians. My journey from an adherent to tradition to being an advocate taught me the meaning of personal autonomy.

Phil Gruppuso practiced pediatric endocrinology for 30 years, during which time he was also a physician-scientist and medical educator. At present in semi-retirement, he spends most of his time as a woodworker and musician. Phil carved the podium and chalice stands in our Meeting House.