A rift has emerged among advocates for Australia’s sex and gender minorities, with the peak intersex advocacy group Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia refusing to participate in the first national sex and gender diverse people’s rally on May 12.
OII Australia president Gina Wilson said the rally had misrepresented intersex needs by applying its demands to all “intersex, sex and/or gender diverse (ISGD) people,” when some did not apply to intersex people and, if applied to them, could be detrimental.
“The recent Canberra rally looked wonderful, but we have reservations,” Wilson said.
“Every single speech and all representations of intersex were made by transpeople. We think this is a grossly unbalanced representation of intersex people who, in the vast majority, live non-trans lives.
“Some of those who spoke to the rally, in our opinion, misrepresented intersex needs.”
Wilson was concerned that the rally had called for the full implementation of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Sex Files Report for “all ISGD people” when the Sex Files Report had not dealt with intersex issues.
According to Wilson, if intersex people were treated in the same way as transgender and transsexual people as recommended in the report then intersex people could find themselves having to submit to a gender recognition panel.
Another demand by the rally, “full Medicare funding for medical and psychological procedures needed by any ISGD people” did not apply because intersex people already had full access to free surgery, Medicare numbers for all procedures and PBS subsidies on most medications.
“The call for access to specialist healthcare is essentially a trans-objective,” Wilson said.
“We support that but, importantly, only as long as it doesn’t impose barriers on access to services by intersex.
“Close consultation with intersex and Australian intersex organisations might have seen a more balanced and inclusive list of demands that would achieve wide intersex support.”
Wilson has asked that organisations cease using the term ISGD as it implied intersex needs were the same as transsexual and transgender needs.
The Star Observer sought comment from rally organising group Still Fierce but none was forthcoming.
However in an individual statement a member of the Still Fierce collective, Indi Edwards, claimed Wilson’s criticisms amounted to bullying and said Still Fierce could advocate for intersex people because its membership included people who identified as intersex.
“Gina Wilson has no place telling people what to do,” Edwards said.
The group would not be complying with her request not to use the term ISGD but was willing to discuss her concerns.