Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia. It’s a day intended to provoke discussion around the discrimination and violence people face in the LGBTQ+ community. It does this firstly by acknowledging the depathologisation of homosexuality by the World Health Organization, through the removal on this date of homosexuality from International Classification of Diseases. Secondly it promotes public events designed to provoke conversations in workplaces, schools, and community groups while fundraising for relevant causes.
For us, the day produces some complex feelings and positions. The date is often used to acknowledge human rights challenges faced by the intersex community, and these can often come up short. In recognising the depathologisation of homosexuality – and increasingly the needs of transgender people – there’s frequently no recognition as to the ongoing impact that unnecessary forms of pathologisation have on the intersex community. Worse, misrepresentation of intersex issues as matters of sexuality, gender, or diversity of sex categories, have harmful effects on engagement by people with innate variations of sex characteristics. This statement IHRA released on IDAHOBIT day 2019 remains largely true today.
This being said, today is an important day of observance to the broader idea of a LGBTIQA+ community, there are some merits worth recognising today. The opportunities to participate in IDAHOBIT day events across the country can elevate intersex voices and be used as an opportunity to better recognise and understand the violence and stigma that intersex people face. It is also an important opportunity to recognise the impact of homophobia and transphobia on intersex people – whether due to intersectional identities that are vulnerable to lateral violence, or how intersex is often conflated and misidentified in our society. It is our hope that in time and with nuance and careful consideration, IDAHOBIT can present a less problematic context for discussing intersex issues.