Intersex awareness & resources
"Intersex people form a diverse population with many different kinds of bodies, sex characteristics, sex assignments, genders, identities, life experiences, and terminology and word preferences. What we share in common is an experience of having innate sex characteristics (such as chromosomes, gonads or hormones) that differ from medical norms for female or male bodies. We risk violence, stigmatisation and harmful practices because our bodies are seen as different."
– Intersex Human Rights Australia (IHRA)
The LGBTQIA+ acronym encompasses many varied and diverse communities and individual experiences of people across the globe, including the distinctiveness of the 'I'. As a Committee without intersex representation, it's vital we actively take leadership from the intersex movement and intersex community consensus statements, and we encourage our member base to do the same. We acknowledge the distinction of ‘I’ in the LGBTQIA+ acronym, and deliberately use ‘LGBT’ or specific terms from within the acronym that are relevant to each situation.
With this in mind, this webpage aims to raise awareness of the diversity within the intersex community, to support human rights claims, and to encourage respect of the intersex human rights movement without tokenism. We have put together a community-informed collection of resources that speak to need, representation and allyship, highlighting leading organisations such as Intersex Human Rights Australia (IHRA).
In October 2020, IHRA launched its Yellow Tick affirmative inclusion program and practices (see more below). The Pride in Action Network Committee commits to:
- Implementing the new inclusive practice toolkits in our work going forward;
- Bringing these guides to wider University policy review and discussions; and
Enquiring into the Yellow Tick policy review and training services to help improve the Network's consistency and accountability to making our services more intersex inclusive.
Intersex Human Rights Australia
Intersex Human Rights Australia (IHRA) is a national not-for-profit run by and for people born with variations of sex characteristics. Their fantastic website provides valuable resources for families, allies, and on topics including intersex and intersectionality and sport, a media style guide, and educational facts and stats.
"Intersex is not about sexual orientation; people with intersex variations have as diverse a range of sexual orientations as non-intersex (“endosex”) people. Intersex is not about an experience of transition or gender identity; we have as diverse a range of gender identities as non-intersex people. Intersex is primarily about the body, although intersex people may have an identity that is contingent on our embodiment and natural sex characteristics."
– Intersex Human Rights Australia
We recommend that allies take the time to utilise IHRA’s resources, and those listed below, to self-educate and understand how to be an ally. One way to do this is by affirming the 2017 Darlington Statement – a world-leading community consensus statement about the needs and demands of intersex people in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand. The Pride in Action Network affirmed the Darlington Statement in November 2019.
"Intersex people, especially those of us who are diagnosed at birth, in infancy or during puberty, are often the subject of surgical or hormonal interventions to “fix” our sex characteristics and make our bodies appear more typically female or male. Where these interventions take place without personal, fully informed consent they are “harmful practices”; they are still considered “therapeutic” in Australia, and they often take place for “psychosocial” rationales, based on clinician “belief” and “opinion”. We vigorously oppose these human rights violations. In doing so, we are supported by a diverse range of human rights institutions and other allies."
– Intersex Human Rights Australia
The Darlington Statement
The Darlington Statement is a joint consensus statement by Australian and Aotearoa/New Zealand intersex organisations and independent advocates, released in March 2017. It sets out the priorities and calls by the intersex human rights movement in the two countries, under six headings: a preamble, human rights and legal reform; health and wellbeing; peer support; allies; and education, awareness and employment.
Individuals and organisations are encouraged to affirm the Darlington Statement to commit to working alongside intersex-led organisations and advocates to pursue the objectives and demands in the Statement.
Joint Statement by 33 countries on the Rights of Intersex Persons | UN Human Rights Council
On 30 September 2020, 33 countries including Australia signed a Joint Statement led by Austria stating that intersex people continue to face serious and widespread human rights violations and abuses and called for the UN Human Rights Council to address human rights and abuses violations against intersex people and their root causes.
In a joint media statement from international intersex organisations, including IHRA, the IHRA Co-Executive Director and Chair of the Intersex Committee at ILGA World, Tony Briffa, said that it was a historic step forward for the global intersex community.
"For the first time States have taken the lead, recognised the historic injustice that people with diverse sex characteristics are still facing every day, and are pushing their own governments and others to work with civil society to raise awareness.”
Read more on the IHRA website.
Inclusive practice guides
As part of the Yellow Tick affirmative inclusion program, the Darlington Consortium (Intersex Human Rights Australia, Intersex Peer Support Australia and the National LGBTI Health Alliance) have developed two new resources: the Raising the Bar and Inclusive Practice guides.
These tools provide practical steps to help individuals and organisations move beyond terms and tokenism and take meaningful action. IHRA co-executive director Morgan Carpenter says, “Inclusion occurs when people are not only comprehended, welcomed and respected, but also where the issues facing intersex people are meaningfully addressed".
Intersex Human Rights Australia
- Intersex for allies and parents
- Yellow Tick affirmative inclusion program and resources including inclusion guides and how to register your organisation
- Articles on topics including faith, ageing, personal stories, relationships, and ethics
- Media and style guide
- Services, including advocacy, human rights and law reform, peer support, employment and service delivery, custom education and training, and resource development
- Summary of key issues, including bodily integrity, eugenics, and discrimination
- How to affirm the Darlington Statement
Read | Articles and reports
- Personal stories on the Intersex Day international campaign page
- InterACT – Advocates for Intersex Youth – blog on all things intersex
- Read about the history of Intersex Awareness Day
- The ‘normalisation’ of intersex bodies and ‘othering’ of intersex identities by Morgan Carpenter
- YOUth & I an Australian publication by intersex youth
- Health and wellbeing of people with intersex variations information and resource paper from the Victorian Government
- How to be a great intersex ally A toolkit for NGOs and decision makers by OII Europe
- United Nations for LGBT Equality fact sheet on intersex
- World Health Organisation's Sexual health, human rights and the law report
- LGBTI+: ‘I’ is for intersex, not invisible by Cherie Moselen on Independent Australia
- Five myths about intersex we need to shatter from Amnesty International
- I'm intersex, here's what that means on Minus18
- How Pidgeon Pagonis Helped End Intersex Surgeries at Lurie on Chicago Politics & City Life
- Is MRKH Intersex? Ask a Different Question Instead on InterACT (Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome)
- More reading via IHRA
Watch | Videos and streaming
Listen | Podcasts and online audio
- Intersex rights, medical norms & celebrating difference talking with Morgan Carpenter
- I am intersex: Shon Klose's story on ABC
- Sydney Writers' Festival authors explore the definition of normality Andrew Solomon on growing up different, ABC Life Matters
- Exploring The Intersex Community BBC Radio
- More podcasts and audio clips via IHRA
Support and resources