Today is Intersex Awareness Day, a day to bring advocates and allies together in a grassroots effort to raise awareness around intersex people. Intersex people—who compose up to 1.7% of the population—are born with sex characteristics that don’t line up with what society tends to think of as a typical “male” or “female” body.
Unfortunately, for many intersex people, the stigma surrounding intersex often creates dangerous medical interventions for infants, as well as barriers to accessing critical protections and resources later in life.
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the Trump Administration is preparing to redefine the term “sex” for the purposes of several key government agencies in a way that would rely only on the sex listed on an individual’s original birth certificate.
The Administration’s attempt to roll back recognition and protections would have a devastating impact on intersex people.
This redefinition is not only out of step with science, medicine and the law—but it could eliminate protections for intersex people and transgender people and could even stop recognizing intersex and transgender people all together. Click here to read an important op-ed from an intersex advocate in The New York Times responding to the Administration’s harmful proposal.
The negative impact of this potential new regulation would be felt by intersex people who frequently are forced to undergo painful, medically unnecessary surgeries as infants or children, without their consent.
Groups like InterACT work to educate the public and the medical establishment about the experiences of intersex youth and adults with the goal to stop these medical interventions. The changes proposed by HHS would put intersex children at an even higher risk for discrimination in institutional settings like hospitals and schools where they would be left without the protection of the federal government.
In honor of Intersex Awareness Day, we’re asking supporters and allies to spread the word about intersex people and help break down barriers to understanding.
Here are a few great resources from our colleagues at InterACT:
- Intersex 101 fact sheet
- Guide to intersex hashtags and preferred language
- Intersex ally do’s and don’ts
- Full intersex education toolkit at 4intersex.org
We also encourage you to share these on social media using #IntersexAwarenessDay. Here are a few #IntersexAwarenessDay 2018 graphics and posters.