Intersex advocates are today celebrating increased visibility in the community, while continuing to call for better treatment, including an end to forced surgeries.
Events are taking place around Australia for Intersex Awareness Day.
Morgan Carpenter of Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia said an end to forced surgery on intersex people is among the community’s top priorities.
“A key issue is to protect the right of intersex people to bodily integrity,” he said.
Children with intersex variations are frequently subjected to “medically unnecessary” interventions to make their bodies conform to a stereotypically male or female appearance.
“It happens on a routine basis around Australia,” said Carpenter.
Earlier this year, representatives of the intersex community launched the Darlington Statement, which outlines key priorities for intersex people.
The statement prioritises legal reform to recognise bodily autonomy, effective rights-based oversight of clinical decisions, access to affirmative heath care, and peer support.
Carpenter called on the wider LGBTI community to use Intersex Awareness Day to familiarise themselves with intersex issues.
OII said in a statement that intersex people are often conflated with queer or trans identities, when many are cis and heterosexual.
“The reality is that people born with intersex variations are wonderfully diverse, with great variation in sex characteristics, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions,” they said.
On Intersex Awareness Day, OII called on the wider LGBTI community to not just pay lip service to intersex people with inclusion in the acronym, but to become educated about intersex issues and advocate for improvement.
“Intersex Awareness Day is a great opportunity for people to attend one of the intersex events organised or to set up their own event to discuss intersex people and our human rights,” said co-executive director Tony Briffa.
“The OIIAU website is a great resource for people wanting to learn more about us.”