Monday, October 26, 2009

Intersex Awareness Day (10.26.09)

Oct 26th marks the 5th annual celebrate intersexual awareness day! Today is the (inter)national day of grass-roots action to end shame, secrecy and unwanted genital cosmetic surgeries on intersex children.

What is intersex?
Intersex refers to a series of medical conditions in which a child's genetic sex (chromosomes) and phenotypic sex (genital appearance) do not match, or are somehow different from the "standard" male or female. About one in 2,000 babies are born visibly intersexed, while some others are detected later. The current medical protocol calls for the surgical "reconstruction" of these different but healthy bodies to make them "normal," but this practice has become increasingly controversial as adults who went through the treatment report being physically, emotionally, and sexually harmed by such procedures.

Beside stopping cosmetic genital surgeries, what are intersex activists working toward?
Surgery is just part of a larger pattern of how intersex children are treated; it is also important to stop shame, secrecy and isolation that are socially and medically imposed on children born with intersex conditions under the theory that the child is better off it they didn't hear anything about it. Therefore, it's not enough to simply stop the surgery; we need to replace it with social and psychological support as well as open and honest communication.

What's so significant about October 26?
On October 26, 1996, intersex activists from Intersex Society of North America (carrying the sign "Hermaphrodites With Attitude") and our allies from Transexual Menace held the first public intersex demonstration in Boston, where American Academy of Pediatrics was holding its annual conference. The action generated a lot of press coverage, and made it difficult for the medical community to continue to neglect our growing movement. That said, events related to Intersex Awareness Day can take place throughout October and does not necessarily have to be on the 26th.

Ideas for Action:

Pamphlets for organizing intersex awareness day.

Click here to print out some articles to leaflet on intersexuality

Get some friends together and rally/demonstrate in front of a hospital or medical school demanding an end to genital mutilation!

Show a film or invite a guest speaker to speak about IS issues.

Learn more and get active with the Intersex Initiative.

3 comments:

Earth said...

LGBTI - has a nice ring to it:) - I am all about inclusiveness

Alicia said...

What about LGBTQI?

Anonymous said...

the org i work for in montreal uses LGBTTIQ, but some youth we work with recently suggested adding a CD, another Q, and an A.

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