We are Intersex Human Rights Australia


Intersex people form a diverse population with many different kinds of bodies, sexes, genders, identities, terminology and word preferences, and life experiences. What we share in common is an experience of being born with sex characteristics (such as chromosomes, gonads or hormones) that differ from medical norms for female or male bodies. Intersex is fundamentally a matter of bodily diversity. We risk violence, stigmatisation and harmful practices because our bodies are seen as different.

Intersex is not about sexual orientation; people with intersex variations have as diverse a range of sexual orientations as non-intersex (“endosex”) people. Intersex is not about transition or gender identity; we have as diverse a range of gender identities as non-intersex people. Intersex is primarily about the body, although intersex people may have an identity that is contingent on our embodiment and natural sex characteristics. The term intersex was first used by science in the early 20th century; historically, the term “hermaphrodite” was used. The term is not applicable to situations where individuals deliberately alter their own anatomical characteristics.

Although figures vary, intersex people represent a significant percentage of the population.

Intersex people, especially those of us who are diagnosed at birth or in infancy, are often the subject of surgical or hormonal interventions to “fix” our sex and make us appear more typically female or male. These harmful practices are still considered “therapeutic” in Australia, and they often take place for “psychosocial” rationales. We vigorously oppose these human rights violations; there is no firm evidence supporting such interventions.

Intersex Human Rights Australia

Intersex Human Rights Australia Ltd (formerly Organisation Intersex International Australia or OII Australia) is a national body by and for people with intersex variations. We promote the human rights, self-determination and bodily autonomy of intersex people in Australia. We develop policy, and provide information and education. We also run an online support group. Our goals are to help create a society where our bodies are not stigmatised, and where our rights as people are recognised.

We have made significant contributions to human rights policy and practice in Australia and internationally, resulting in:

Intersex Human Rights Australia is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. We are recognised by the Australian Taxation Office as a charitable Public Benevolent Institution. We are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. IHRA is primarily resourced out of philanthropic and voluntary contributions, along with occasional project contracts. We currently employ two part-time contract staff with philanthropic funding. We seek additional resourcing to fund employment of a lawyer, a social worker and an admin person.

In March 2017, we joined with other Australian and Aotearoa/New Zealand intersex organisations, and independent advocates to publish a consensus statement on our human rights and health issues. Read our joint Darlington Statement.


Intersex Human Rights Australia works closely alongside the other major Australian intersex-led organisation, the AIS Support Group Australia.

We are a member of the Australian Child Rights Taskforce, the National LGBTI Health Alliance and ILGA. We are the Australian affiliate of Organisation Internationale des Intersexués (OII), a decentralised global network of intersex organisations.


We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, their diversity, histories and knowledge and their continuing connections to land and community. We pay our respects to all Australian Indigenous peoples and their cultures, and to elders of past, present and future generations.

This page is periodically updated.