A Chinese father has been arrested after reportedly attempting to kill his intersex infant multiple times.
On May 13, the youngest child of Yang Xiaoqing and her husband was born with an unexpected issue.
"We thought we would have a girl," Yang said, as reported by China Daily. "But soon we were told the ‘girl’ is actually a boy, with an atrophic sex organ. We panicked and got concerned."
An atrophic organ is one that is shrinking, wasting away.
Her husband allegedly tried to kill the child because "he is neither a boy nor a girl," but a "monster."
In total, the father and grandfather reportedly attempted to kill the baby three times. At first, the father tried to place a wet towel over the child’s face. Yang heard the baby crying and stopped him.
"When I heard my son cry, I was in pain," he said. "My wife cried and I gave up."
Three days later, he tried to smother the child with diapers, a wet towel, and a blanket. Yang stopped her husband once again.
"He could not bear to kill his own flesh and blood after all, and my father-in-law took over," Yang said.
When she realized her child was missing, she notified local law enforcement. Police determined that the grandfather had abandoned the child away from the family's village of Anyang, Henan province of China.
"After he was found, he did not eat for 12 hours," Yang recalled. "My heart is broken. He may be a monster to others, but to me, he is and will always be my sweetest baby."
Although the grandfather was released pending trial, the father was arrested.
Yang and her husband also have a daughter together.
"We are in a difficult situation," Yang said. "But what I worry about most is that my son may suffer discrimination when he grows up."
According to Li Jianning, director of the Department of Plastic Surgery at Beijing University Third Hospital, children with intersex genitalia undergo surgery depending on their diagnoses.
"There is no evidence that children who grow up with intersex genitals are worse off psychologically than those who are altered," reports the Intersex Society of North America. "In fact, there is evidence that children who grow up with intersex genitals do well psychologically."
"It is still a stigma in Chinese society," Li said. "They are being labeled as neither male nor female."