Intersex Forum

THE Third International Intersex Forum was held in Malta over the weekend, with delegates from Australia contributing to a statement affirming the positions and demands of intersex activists around the world.

The statement made a number of demands around the treatment of intersex people, including calling for an end to mutilating and ‘normalising’ practises like surgeries; ensuring intersex people can easily choose between legal sex categories; and reducing discrimination.

“We affirm that intersex people are real, and we exist in all regions and all countries around the world. Thus, intersex people must be supported to be the drivers of social, political and legislative changes that concern them,” the statement reads.

The statement also called for human rights institutions, government and media agencies to better engage with intersex people and organisations.

Organisation Intersex International Australia president Morgan Carpenter and vice-president Tony Briffa both attended the forum.

Briffa, who is Maltese-Australian, told the Star Observer about working with prominent worldwide intersex activists.

“There was a lot of discussion but the statement was unanimously supported,” Briffa said.

“This is significant given it potentially could have been challenging getting 34 activists from around the world to agree, but it wasn’t a problem. There is unity within the intersex community around all these issues.”

Carpenter praised the opportunity to work with intersex activists worldwide: “It’s been an extraordinary event… As a community we’ve made huge progress, that’s evident in the detailed closing statement.”

Briffa said many demands coming out of this year’s forum included the focus on gender classification in official documentation. Australia’s intersex community made significant progress in this area last week with the passage of legislative reforms in the ACT making it easier for intersex people to change their legal gender.

The forum also called for an end to pre-natal identification and selective abortion of intersex infants, an end to intersex infanticide in some African countries, and for intersex people to be allowed to compete in sport in accordance with their legal sex.

Briffa said that while different countries had a different focus for intersex activism, the forum demonstrated the global intersex community’s ability to work together.

“The Australian focus is very broad and we work well and support other nations and their campaigns,” Briffa said.

“Some countries do things differently and we respect that because ultimately they know what is best in their own countries. We’re happy to support and assist them where possible.”

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