Intersex Activism – Aims and Goals

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Current Intersex Activism strives toward achieving complete personal autonomy and bodily integrity for everyone born Intersex

At present intersex activism engages with human rights NGO’s using two statements as the basis for securing intersex legal protections.  These statements were compiled at two international meetings of intersex advocates: one meeting was the 3rd International Intersex Forum, in Malta during 2013.  It was this meeting and subsequent meetings that contributed to the securing of the world-leading GIGESC : to date the only comprehensive legislative protection for intersex, trans and gender variant people in the world.

The 3rd Intersex International Forum Statement can be read in full, here:-


We affirm that intersex people are real, and we exist in all regions and all countries around the world. Thus, intersex people must be supported to be the drivers of social, political and legislative changes that concern them.

We reaffirm the principles of the First and Second International Intersex Fora and extend the demands aiming to end discrimination against intersex people and to ensure the right of bodily integrity, physical autonomy and self-determination.

Full Text

  • To put an end to mutilating and ‘normalising’ practices such as genital surgeries, psychological and other medical treatments through legislative and other means. Intersex people must be empowered to make their own decisions affecting own bodily integrity, physical autonomy and self-determination.
  • To put an end to preimplantation genetic diagnosis, pre-natal screening and treatment, and selective abortion of intersex foetuses.
  • To put an end to infanticide and killings of intersex people.
  • To put an end to non-consensual sterilisation of intersex people.
  • To depathologise variations in sex characteristics in medical guidelines, protocols and classifications, such as the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases.
  • To register intersex children as females or males, with the awareness that, like all people, they may grow up to identify with a different sex or gender.
  • To ensure that sex or gender classifications are amendable through a simple administrative procedure at the request of the individuals concerned. All adults and capable minors should be able to choose between female (F), male (M), non-binary or multiple options. In the future, as with race or religion, sex or gender should not be a category on birth certificates or identification documents for anybody.
  • To raise awareness around intersex issues and the rights of intersex people in society at large.
  • To create and facilitate supportive, safe and celebratory environments for intersex people, their families and surroundings.
  • To ensure that intersex people have the right to full information and access to their own medical records and history.
  • To ensure that all professionals and healthcare providers that have a specific role to play in intersex people’s wellbeing are adequately trained to provide quality services.
  • To provide adequate acknowledgement of the suffering and injustice caused to intersex people in the past, and provide adequate redress, reparation, access to justice and the right to truth.
  • To build intersex anti-discrimination legislation in addition to other grounds, and to ensure protection against intersectional discrimination.
  • To ensure the provision of all human rights and citizenship rights to intersex people, including the right to marry and form a family.
  • To ensure that intersex people are able to participate in competitive sport, at all levels, in accordance with their legal sex. Intersex athletes who have been humiliated or stripped of their titles should receive reparation and reinstatement.
  • Recognition that medicalization and stigmatisation of intersex people result in significant trauma and mental health concerns.
  • In view of ensuring the bodily integrity and well-being of intersex people, autonomous non-pathologising psycho-social and peer support be available to intersex people throughout their life (as self-required), as well as to parents and/or care providers.

The second statement was formulated, and facilitated by the ILGA-Europe meeting in Riga, in 2014.

The four objectives are:

  • To challenge the definition of sex as consisting of only male and female and promote the knowledge that sex is a continuum, as is gender.
  • To ensure that intersex people are fully protected against discrimination. To achieve this we recommend the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation on the ground of sex characteristics – regardless of the specific appearance or configuration of these characteristics. Sex characteristics refer to the chromosomal, gonadal and anatomical features of a person, which include primary characteristics such as reproductive organs and genitalia and/or chromosomal structures and hormones; and secondary characteristics such as, but not limited to, muscle mass, hair distribution, breasts and/or stature.
  • To ensure that all stakeholders that have a specific role to play in intersex people’s wellbeing such as, but not limited to, health care providers, parents and professionals working in the area of education, as well as society in general, are instructed on intersex issues from a human rights perspective.
  • To work towards making non-consensual medical and psychological treatment unlawful. Medical practitioners or other professionals should not conduct any treatment to the purpose of modifying sex characteristics which can be deferred until the person to be treated can provide informed consent.

In view of these objectives the European Intersex meeting calls on the European Union and the Council of Europe as well as national governments, to take on board intersex issues in their work and provide full protection for intersex people.

The full Riga statement can be read here.

OII-UK fully support the outlined objectives in both statements, and calls on clinicians and legislative bodies to engage with representative intersex organisations in helping to fulfil these aim to better protect intersex people from the human rights abuses they continue to endure.


One Response to “Intersex Activism – Aims and Goals”

  1. David

    I’m intersex but not from the UK, so I was wondering if it would be ok if I reply to this post with a comment?

    Way back in the 1960s when I was a child I was in the hospital for surgery on an undescended testis. Nothing was said but something besides just repairing my testis was done to me. Nothing was ever said to my parents or myself a as to exactly what was done during the surgery that left such a huge scar. I happen to be in a ward with five or so children with a boy next to me who clearly had ambiguous genitila, accept at ten years old I couldn’t say that word nor knew what it really ment. Three days after my surgery a women came into the room and asked if I was being nice to this boy, I nodded but the fact was he never ever was wake. That is when things got very weird, she told me they saved me from becoming a girl but couldn’t save that child. Shortly after he was wheeled out and I never saw him again. At ten year old I didn’t know they could make a boy into a girl and now someone was telling me this as if it were some sort of punishment. I knew this was wrong and left me in fear that someone could do this. It wasn’t until I was an older adult that I found out that intersex children are subject to the whim of doctors.
    Oh my surgery was a botched job. That undescended testis proved to be a fetal ovary that became malignant as an adult. It took several more surgeries to repair the female bits they removed as a child. In addition several more mature germ cell teratoma were removed from my abdomen. With the largest being 14.5 cm.

    My living horror story compares nothing to the horror I felt when this child was wheeled away to be made into a girl.

    I realize I’m intersex and also transgender so I could have gone either way when it comes to gender. But that question is for me to decide if I wish to become a girl or not and not some doctor. This poor child was never given an option.