This November 8 marks Intersex Day of Solidarity. Established by intersex activists, the date marks an important opportunity to do precisely what it says: raise awareness of what it means to be intersex, show solidarity, and recognise that intersex rights are human rights.
Intersex is a term applied to people born with variations of reproductive or sexual characteristics. Biological sex can’t neatly be divided into binary categories of “male” and “female,” and every year an estimated 1.7% of children in the world are born with variations in their sex characteristics. That’s roughly the same number of people who are born with red hair.
Tragically, many children undergo traumatising surgery to “normalise” them. This is despite the fact that these interventions are often invasive, irreversible, and not performed for emergency reasons, and they are undertaken when the individuals are too young to participate in the decision. This “treatment” of intersex children is an unacceptable violation of their human rights and has to stop.
But 2017 has shown us that there is reason to be hopeful that change is possible, thanks to the tireless work of intersex campaigners and activists around the world. In honour of Intersex Day of Solidarity, we’ve rounded up seven developments in intersex rights you might have missed this year.