Intersex Solidarity Day or Intersex Day of Remembrance
Intersex Solidarity day international recognized and celebrated on November 8th. Appearing to be first celebrated in 2005, Intersex Solidarity Day or Intersex Day or Intersex Day of Remembrance was placed on the birthday or Herculine Barbin. Barbin was a French Intersex person whose 19th century memoirs became a interest for scholars and the general public alike after being translated by Michel Foucault. These memoirs play an important role in the understandings of the relationship between individuals with intersex conditions in history.
This day was created to call on the broader community to educate itself on the what intersex is, what the laws allow in terms of medical intervention of children with intersex conditions, and what is occurring to children born with intersex conditions around the world. Intersex advocates and activists call on the public to stand with them to denounce what they call genital mutilation performed and deemed necessary by medical professionals. Most intersex advocates and activists claim that the secrecy and interventions forced upon people with intersex conditions is unfounded and wrong. The Darlington Statement addresses the demands of Australian and Aotearoa/New Zealand intersex organizations and independent advocates, it is one of the best examples of the issues that are occurring, and not being addressed worldwide.
According to Gina Wilson, a former president of Organisation Intersex International Australia (OII), “At a fundamental level homophobic bigotry, intolerance and ancient superstitions underpin contemporary mistreatment of intersex people.” Emi Koyama, a well known activist and founder of Intersex Initiative in a paper titled From Social Construction to Social Justice: Transforming How We Teach About Intersexuality states that surgeries and hormonal interventions are “designed to alter the appearance to make it visually ‘normal’ but do not necessarily address any particular health issues”. These facts are greatly upsetting to many intersex advocates and allies.
A heightened understanding of what intersex conditions are, how people with them are treated, how intersex conditions are categorized and controversially handled by the medical world, is very important to understand in light of what the leaked New York Times Memo of the Trump Administration’s plans to define gender as the assignment at birth. Individuals with Intersex conditions will undoubtedly be impacted by this consideration of policy change. We would be likely to see decades of progress forged by activism, advocacy and education designed to end surgeries and hormonal interventions on children with intersex conditions, be discarded. We are also likely to see the secrecy and suffering of “not out” intersex folks increase if this policy was put into practice.
Bonnie Hart president of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia, one of the oldest Intersex Organizations in the world, said in 2016 via a Facebook post dedicated to remembering and thanking her intersex elders, that:
“If you know an intersex person they are a survivor and a warrior of a battle you may not even know is happening.”
Intersex Day of Solidarity November 8th calls on surrounding communities and persons to respond to the injustices facing intersex people.
For more resources and information research
Brújula Intersexual, The Intersex Day Project, Intersex Initiative, InterACT, and The Intersex Society of North America, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia, Intersex Human Rights Australia, The Darlington Statement and AIS