Intersex Awareness Day
October 25, 2018
Imagine being born with a vagina but no ovaries or possessing chromosomes that don’t neatly fit either male (XY) or female (XX) categories. There’s a name for it—intersex. Being intersex can include a vast range of biological features; anything that differs from what is typically recognized as part of the binary of male/female sexual anatomy (internal or external) can be categorized under the umbrella of intersex. But did you know that approximately 1.7% of the world’s population is intersex? For some people, it’s apparent at birth that they are intersex. For others, it may not be apparent until puberty, while some people can spend their wholes lives without realizing they are intersex.
October 26th marks the anniversary of the first public protests against nonconsensual surgeries intended to make an intersex child fit into the boy/girl binary. Some consider the practice genital mutilation since it most often has nothing to do with health concerns and can lead to various issues like infertility, pain, numbness and more. It is also seen as a breach of human rights by groups like the United Nations and the World Health Organization. Intersex Awareness Day is about recognizing the right of intersex people to be able to make their own decisions about their bodies, as well as destigmatizing the idea that being intersex is abnormal and needs to be “fixed” or “normalized.”
You may be wondering, “I’m not intersex, so what does any of this have to do with me?” But Intersex Awareness Day is about everyone having the ability to live freely no matter what sexual characteristics they possess. The fight against intersex discrimination is also a fight for a better, safer, more accepting world for everyone.
Check out interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth for more resources and information about what it means to be intersex and how you can support intersex rights.