Intersex Visibility

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The determined effort to erase intersex embodiment remains a fundamental abuse of people’s human rights, and a denial of a person’s right to live authentically. Intersex is a perfectly valid embodiment of being human. It should never be another’s right to define a person and enforce that decision through the medium of irreversible surgical and hormonal interventions.

The narrow boundaries that define who is, or is not, a man or a woman are artificial values that find their motivation in fear, prejudice, misunderstanding and homophobia. It automatically places intersex embodiment as “other”, and contributes to the continued belief that intersex difference *requires* intervention for parents and society to accept our being. There is no empirical evidence to suggest any such thing. However the deliberate decision to deny intersex existence for decades has done far more damage to individuals, and a wider understanding of intersex lived experience.

Rather than pathologise and stigmatise difference there remains an overwhelming need to have an honest and open conversation about personal autonomy and bodily integrity for intersex individuals. Parents should be supported and helped to understand that medical intervention, be it prenatal, surgical or hormonal does not *cure* intersex, because intersex is not a disease; it is a state of being.

Interventions force intersex to conform to expectations. It ruthlessly closes down the opportunity to acknowledge the affected individual’s right to express their own understanding of themselves: often at the price of deep personal trauma for the individual.

People born intersex are the most scrutinised and medicalised population on the planet. We are spoken about in abstentia, yet almost always denied a voice in that conversation. All of which only serves to continue to stigmatise us, and reinforce the perception that our differences need “fixing” and clinicians are doing us a kindness in intervening.

Clinicians are only too well aware of the human rights campaign associated with intersex rights. It is vitally important that the motivations that drive clinical protocols enacted on intersex people continue to be questioned, and held up for scrutiny. People need to know intersex people live in their midst, and we have a legitimate right to live as we know ourselves, not as others decree. It is only by doing so that change will happen, and benefit future generations of intersex people yet to be born.