It’s Intersex Awareness Day, 2022, where are we at?
This year marks the 26th anniversary of when Morgan Holmes and Max Beck were removed from a Boston pediatric conference in 1996 and they decided to protest it. It marks 18 years since Intersex Awareness Day was first observed in 2004. In this time Intersex Awareness Day has become a day to celebrate intersex people across the world and engage in challenging conversations about our human rights.
There are other milestones of note for us today. We are 9 years since the Senate’s Community Affairs References Committee (the committee charged with the health portfolio) reported on the involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people. The committee made concrete recommendations for reform and regulation of medical practices. UN Treaty Bodies have consistently called for the implementation of its recommendations, but this work remains unimplemented. We are 6 years since the controversial family court case Re: Carla demonstrated again the need for those protections. We are 5 years since the Darlington Statement coalesced a vision of intersex justice for Australia. We are now one year since the Australian Human Rights Commission published a report and recommendations out of its powerful inquiry on ensuring the health and human rights of people born with variations of sex characteristics.
We thank the ACT government for its vital and welcome ongoing work to implement legislation to protect the human rights of people with innate variations of sex characteristics in medical settings. As the ACT government has said, legislative reform is not legally radical, but is consistent with “orthodox legal thinking about child welfare”. The ACT government remains the only government to have published draft legislation for public comment, and we look forward to the introduction of legislation in the ACT Assembly in the coming year. The Victorian government has made promising statements, and took delivery of concrete recommendations for law reform in September 2021. The federal government has not yet formally responded to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report.
Now is a good time to contact your federal, and state or territory, members of parliament to call for implementation of longstanding calls for action.
Our work with other institutions continues apace. Morgan delivered a major piece of work to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on constructions of intersex and DSD in Australian data, and policy. It identifies the significant and ongoing adverse effects of radically different ways in which our population is understood and treated, and makes recommendations consistent our call for action to Australian governments. We have also worked with the Australian Bureau of Statistics and institutions including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to improve statistical standards, the census, surveys and data collection, in ways that respect the diversity of our population.
IHRA remains funded primarily through foreign philanthropy to support our systemic advocacy work. We have been able to raise funds to increase our staffing in coming months, from two part-time posts to four part-time posts. We hope and expect that this will significantly increase our capacity, following a period with significant limitations on our ability to deliver.
Despite collaborating with Intersex Peer Support Australia and the InterLink project to improve access to peer support, professional and peer support for individuals and families remains poorly funded, or entirely absent from government funding priorities.
We will continue to promote the human rights, self-determination and bodily autonomy of intersex people in Australia. Our goal remains to help create a society where our bodies are not stigmatised, and where our rights as people are recognised.
Intersex Awareness Day Webinar: 5 Years of the Darlington Statement
Today we’re holding a webinar marking the fifth anniversary of the Darlington Statement, written, ratified, and published in March 2017 during the first Darlington Retreat. The Darlington Statement is a landmark intersex human rights document of priorities determined by lived experience. It has had a profound impact on advocacy in Australia and inspired other intersex organisations across the world to explore their own human rights contexts.
This exciting panel of contibutors is looking to deep dive into the history of the Darlington Statement. It’s impact on advocacy efforts across the world. As well as looking to what the future may hold.
On the evening of the 26th, join us in conversation as we celebrate this iconic human rights document.
The panel will be recorded and made available free on our website here.
Darling Award 2022
On Intersex Awareness Day, 26th October 2022, the Darlington Consortium of intersex-led and allied organisations, and community members working towards implementation of the Darlington Statement is proud to announce the recipient of the third Darlington Australia/Aotearoa intersex ally award, “The Darling”.
The award is presented to an organisation, institution or individual that has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to action on intersex issues, beyond affirming the Darlington Statement. This Statement, created in five years ago in 2017, is a community consensus statement that sets out the demands of the intersex community in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. It calls for recognition of our right to bodily integrity, and outlines the systemic changes needed to ensure their enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, wellbeing and other human rights.
Congratulations and thank you to Working It Out (WIO). WIO has shown outstanding allyship beyond affirming the Darlington Statement, and progress the objectives of the Darlington Statement through:
- Learning about intersex people and issues from intersex community members
- Making their service affirmative and meaningfully inclusive for intersex clients
- Elevating intersex voices through the creation of intersex specific resources and the Better Lives project – educating Midwives about variations to sex characteristics and how to support these community members and their families
- Advocating for intersex issues within governments, NGOs, private and public sectors
- Meaningfully including intersex within the LGBTIQA+ sector
- Creating or promoting affirmative, rights-based healthcare services that depathologise intersex
In particular we acknowledge the hard work of Simone-Lisa Anderson in raising the profile of Intersex issues in Tasmania, building strong collaborative relationships in government and community.
Australian Medical Students’ statement
Thank you to the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) for this great statement:
Interviews, posts and podcasts
Over the last week you may have heard our Senior Project Officer Cody Smith popping up across various radio and podcasts. Check out their interview on podcast Come Out Wherever You Are here with Sean Szeps. It is a warm and intimate conversation exploring some of the more complicated dynamics of advocacy and the relationships that are challenged by it.
Thank you to Stephanie Saal in Queensland:
Children’s book launch
We’re always excited to see the creative efforts of our community in and around Intersex Awareness Day. Our heartfelt congratulations go to Margie McCumstie on the publication of her first children’s book. Positive media representations for intersex children are an important step forward in self acceptance, challenging the stigma that many children grow up with. We’re excited to learn more about this project at its launch this Saturday.
Event details from original post by Margie:
“Hi everyone, I discovered this year that I’m intersex. I wanted to help children who are coming to terms with their intersex diagnosis so I wrote a children’s book! I’m having an online Book Launch this Saturday at 4pm AEDT (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time). I’ve attached the invite and am asking everyone to preregister by clicking on the link in the attached invite or it is also here-
You are welcome to attend, the event is free.”
Check out the wonderful new website of Intersex Aotearoa, and all their new resources!
More happening throughout the day
We will be adding to this page as events get announced throughout the day, and the week ahead.