Widely recognised as a trailblazer and pioneer, one of the country’s leading intersex activists has decided to call it a day with Gina Wilson, the founding president of Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia, heading into retirement to spend more time with family and travel the country.
Wilson’s retirement sees Morgan Carpenter take on the presidency of OII Australia, with intersex activist and Hobsons Bay councillor Tony Briffa elected to the role of vice-president and secretary. Other changes on OII Australia’s board following its recent AGM saw Cilla Quirk step aside as treasurer while Chris Somers relinquished the role of vice-president but will continue to remain on the board.
Formed originally around 2000 via a web forum, Wilson soon helped establish an Australian branch of the fledgling intersex rights organisation in 2006, with her work over many years eventually leading to world-first and groundbreaking anti-discrimination protections for intersex people announced by the Australian Government earlier this year.
In a statement to media, Carpenter thanked Wilson for her longstanding commitment and energy in advocating for intersex rights and announced that she would be made an honorary life member of OII Australia.
“Gina’s work has promoted greater awareness of intersex, and established constructive working partnerships with parliamentarians, and human rights and advocacy organisations,” Carpenter said.
“We admire Gina, respect her achievements, and will miss her insightful and active contributions to the organisation.”
Carpenter said Wilson’s advocacy had helped improve access to Medicare services for intersex people, provide inclusion in anti-discrimination legislation and also shone a light on continuing ‘normalising’ genital surgeries performed on intersex children by medical professionals.
Having lived in the UK and migrated permanently to Australia from Ireland in 2005, Carpenter – who has been active with OII Australia since 2009 and is also a member of the National LGBTI Health Alliance’s Intersex, Trans and Gender Diversity Working Group and Mental Health Working Group – said despite Wilson’s retirement the organisation was well placed for the challenges ahead.
“We have also spent much of the last year in transition, with new organisational leaders stepping up in both public and private roles to help achieve recent successes. Gina will leave a very significant hole, but the organisation is in better shape now than it has ever been,” he said.
“The organisation is moving towards gaining full charitable status, and a key priority now is to improve our capacity, through the employment of paid staff, to provide education, information, advocacy around legislation, health and human rights issues, and provide peer support.”
INFO: The Star Observer will feature an in-depth interview with OII Australia’s founding president Gina Wilson in coming weeks.