To mark Intersex Awareness Day, an inaugural intersex ally award has been given to the National LGBTI Health Alliance for their strong efforts to elevate intersex voices in Australia.

The ‘Darling Award’ was established by intersex-led and allied organisations behind the Darlington Statement, a 2017 document outlining key priorities for intersex communities in Australia and New Zealand.

The award was designed to recognise organisations, institutions, or individuals that have “demonstrated a commitment to action beyond merely affirming the Statement”.

Those nominated for the inaugural award this year included the National LGBTI Health Alliance, the ACT Government Office for LGBTI Affairs, Greens Senator Janet Rice, ACT Labor, and People with Disability Australia.

The nominations were made by those who attended the Darlington retreats where the Statement was formed.

National President of the AIS Support Group Australia, Bonnie Hart, said the work done by intersex advocates in Australia is difficult, triggering, and unrewarding.

“This year, on Intersex Awareness Day, we want to honour the individuals and organisations who have stood with us in our struggle and meaningfully acted on the demands made in the Darlington Statement within their respective spheres of influence,” Hart said.

Co-Executive Director of Intersex Human Rights Australia (IHRA), Morgan Carpenter, said all of the nominees should be congratulated for their work and their vision.

“We also thank all the signatories of the Darlington Statement for their concrete commitment to action promoting the rights of intersex people – rights that most other people take for granted,” he said.

“Some, like many of our nominees, have taken action over many years, and others have broken new ground.”

Winner of this year’s award, the National LGBTI Health Alliance, supported both Darlington retreats as well as the development of the Darlington Statement through their mindOUT program. The Alliance also made strong efforts to elevate intersex voices at the national Health in Difference conference.

Executive Director of the National LGBTI Health Alliance, Nicky Bath, said the Alliance was thrilled to be recognised with the award.

“This award acknowledges the importance of partnerships and what can be achieved when people come together,” she said.

“It was an honour to be able to facilitate the processes that supported the development of the Darlington Statement and to shine a strong light on intersex voices at the Health in Difference conference.

“The Alliance will continue with our work to promote and implement the Darlington Statement and to support Australian intersex-led human rights organisations in their work to advance the human rights of those born with variations in sex characteristics.”

Involuntary and coerced medical interventions continue to be performed on young intersex bodies to erase their intersex traits, something advocates have been fighting against for more than two decades.

The interventions can cause permanent infertility, pain, a loss of sexual sensation, and lifelong mental health issues like depression.

For resources and information on the intersex community in Australia, visit IHRA’s website: ihra.org.au

intersex ally award

The ‘Darling Award’. Image: Supplied.

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