IHRA had been due to hold a face-to-face meeting of board members last weekend. Unfortunately, the situation in Victoria prevented that from happening, but we were able to hold a day of planning meetings on Saturday 29 May.
We are delighted to welcome three new board members, including our first medical doctor. Dr Anita Jacombs is a surgeon specialising in hernia and abdominal wall reconstruction in NSW. We also welcome Olympia Balopitos, a legal student and peer support worker for gender diverse people in South Australia, and Paul Byrne-Moroney, a leading advocate for people with sex chromosome variations in Victoria.
At the same time, Tony Briffa will step down as a part-time co-executive director effective on 31 May, to take up a full-time ongoing position in aviation. Tony will continue to be a much valued director of IHRA.
Morgan Carpenter will continue as executive director, on a part-time basis. With philanthropic support and new Victorian government project funding, IHRA expects to soon create vacancies for two new part-time staff roles: a senior projects role and an administration role.
Morgan Carpenter, executive director, says:
Tony and I have been working together as co-executive directors since the end of 2016, and we worked together as chair and vice-chair for years before that, before IHRA had the resources to pay staff. In any organisation with so few staff any departure is a very significant shift, but this comes today at a time when the organisation can grow in new ways, gifting new horizons for all of us. Thank you, Tony, for all your energy, commitment and joy! I wish you all the very best for your new role, and express my thanks for your ongoing support as part of the board. Together we have achieved so much, and there is so much that we will yet do together.
Tony Briffa says:
I’m honoured to have been a Co-executive Director of IHRA and am pleased I will still be able to continue my work as a member of the IHRA Board of Directors. This is an exciting time for intersex Australians with so much work in progress, and I intend to continue my longstanding intersex human rights work both in Australia and internationally.
Dr Agli Zavros-Orr, chair of the board, says:
Tony, I wish you well in your new job in aviation and I feel that you are modelling what is possible. Your story is aspirational and demonstrates that we can all dream big in attaining both personal and professional goals. This is particularly important for our community and for our young people who may be facing tension, pressures, trauma or dealing with experiences of stigma and shame in coming to terms with being born as a person with an intersex variation. What I have learnt from you in the short while that we have been working together is that – intersex does not identify us it is just a small part of who we are.
I am pleased to announce that whilst Tony is stepping down from an the co-executive role, she will continue as a board member, supporting IHRA in advocating for socio-cultural, medical, and legal reform for intersex human rights. I am grateful for this, and look forward continuing to work and learn from Tony.
I thank Morgan for his ongoing tireless contribution and will support him in my capacities as chair whilst we undertake the process of employing two new staff members.
IHRA is growing as an organisation, given decades of advocacy and activism. Our board has grown to include three more board members. Welcome Dr Anita Jacobs, Olympia Balopitos, and Paul Byrne-Moroney. Whilst we have a long way to go to raising intersex awareness and visibility across all sectors of the Australian community the future is looking brighter.