Intersex Activists

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There is a growing global network of Intersex activists that are pressing for changes to local and international laws and medical practices to recognize, accommodate, and protect the rights of their community.

Intersex individuals are those who possess physical attributes of both male and female sexes. Hence, they cannot be assigned a definitive, binary sex at birth. This situation includes people born with chromosomal sex other than male or female, or with primary physical attributes that include both sexes. It is believed that 3-5% of the population is born as intersex each year.

The principal issue with activists in this area concerns the existence of corrective surgery performed on newborn children with mixed sexual attributes. The activist community would like such corrective surgery to be delayed until the child is capable of determining for themselves the specific sex (if any) it wishes to be identified with. There is concern that parents are not given sufficient information at birth on the complexities of the issue (both physical and mental) to the child. As well, surgery is often an irreversible and incomplete procedure for the newborn. Many intersex individuals attest to the mental strain they have faced throughout their life on dealing with the outcomes of inadequate surgical procedures, or the mental challenge of gender fluid identity.

Other issues the community is dealing with includes the right to have an 'indeterminate sex' category on official government documents, such as birth certificates and passports.

The most prominent international rights organization for the Intersex community is the Organization Intersex International (OII) which has many branches in countries around the world. Extensive activist work on the issue is being undertaken by the International Gay & Lesbian Association (ILGA). There are also many individual national organizations formed, such as the Intersex & Genderqueer Recognition Project in the U.S. Advances in law are being made slowly in many countries, including India, Germany, and Australia, and are detailed with the individual biographies presented below.

We have identified the following individual activists in this area:




Costa Rica

Great Britain



New Zealand


The Netherlands

United States

See Also

Further Reading/Research

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