The City of Darebin has become Australia’s first local government to affirm the Darlington Statement, with Councillors voting unanimously to support the rights of intersex people in Australia and New Zealand.
“The prevalence of people born with variations of sex characteristics indicates that there are over 2,000 intersex people in Darebin.” Intersex Human Rights Australia co-executive director Tony Briffa said.
“Intersex people are still largely invisible in society, and often conflated with being either trans or not being male or female, so supporting intersex issues is important and relevant,”
‘My experience in trying to support LGBTI inclusion is that people are usually good on the L&G and are less strong with their support as they go downs the letters,” Councillor Steph Amir who drafted the motion told Star Observer. “A lot of people who can’t even explain what it means to be intersex and the diversity and issues intersex people face.’
Amir began thinking about how Council could support Intersex people after a local intersex community member spoke to the community advisor committee about being more inclusive, mentioned affirming the Darlington Statement, which acknowledges the diversity within the community and the progress they are seeking regarding human rights, health and wellbeing, peer support, education, awareness and employment.
“He didn’t want people to make a quick decision and asked us to think about what we could do within our roles to help, which is something I took very seriously. Council should be standing up for everyone and when we make an advocacy statement, we need to back it up with action.
☀️We’re proud to be flying the Intersex Flag 💜💛 above Preston Town Hall to mark Intersex Awareness Day 2019 (26 October)…
“There is a lot within the Darlington statement that doesn’t apply to council on the surface, such as unwanted surgery and federal level issues, but there is a lot we can do in terms of inclusive practise in programs, administration, paper work and how we ask about sex markers on forms.”
Amir’s motion included a commitment to fly the Intersex flag during Intersex Awareness Week and add resources to the library including books by intersex authors that help people understand what it means to be intersex.
This increased understanding on intersex rights and issues is something Darebin City Council Mayor Susan Rennie is very proud of, hoping it will encourage other municipalities to do the same.
“This Council has a long history of supporting diverse communities, and we will continue to do so by finding new ways to support, engage and include intersex people who call Darebin home,” Cr Rennie said, “We encourage other levels of government to affirm the Darlington Statement in support of the intersex community in Australia, and around the world.”