Welcoming Gabriel and Olympia

Gabriel Filpi and Olympia Balopitos, in November 2022. Photo by Cody Smith.

Gabriel Filpi and Olympia Balopitos, in Canberra in November 2022. Photo by Cody Smith.

Welcome to our new staff, and Cody’s new role!

We are excited to welcome our two new Senior Projects Officers: Gabriel Filpi and Olympia Balopitos. Like all our staff, Gabriel and Olympia will work part-time for IHRA on fixed term contracts, reflecting the nature of our (largely philanthropic) income.

Gabriel joins us as our Senior Projects Officer (Health), and will lead on resources development work that is foundational to our health promotion activities.

Gabriel is a queer, intersex advocate, educator and young professional who has been working in the ACT for the past five years. Originally from Sydney, Gabriel moved to Canberra to complete a Masters of biological anthropology at the ANU, later expanding his studies into medical anthropology. For the past four years Gabriel has worked in health education and health promotion at Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT and inclusive education environments as the project officer for the ACT Safe and Inclusive Schools (SAIS) Initiative, and over the last 12 months as the Intersex Project Co-ordinator at A Gender Agenda. Gabriel has also held a place on the ACT LGBTIQA+ Ministerial Advisory Council for the past 2 years as the sole member with intersex lived experience. Through his work, Gabriel has rich and diverse experience in resource development, policy, peer support, public speaking, training development and delivery, alongside cross-sectoral stakeholder engagement. One of Gabriel’s fondest achievements is the development and release of Including Intersex, a first of-its-kind education resource for school staff. Gabriel has strong professional, personal and academic interests in healthcare experiences, health education, and critical medical anthropology. With his passion for advocacy, education, and health Gabriel brings a unique skillset to the space as demonstrated by previous resource development and ongoing collaboration with the ACT legislative reform. Gabriel looks forward to contributing his part to the intersex human rights movement, and to improving the health and wellbeing of intersex Australians.

Olympia joins us as our Senior Projects Officer (Legal), and will provide crucial legal analysis, research and support.

Olympia is a proud nonbinary, intersex person and advocate living on Kaurna Country (Adelaide, Australia). They have spent the last two years as a legal researcher, and as a peer support worker, being the sole peer worker with intersex lived experience at their place of work. Olympia has also recently undertaken a role as a peer educator, using education to advocate for intersex, trans and gender diverse people. They have a degree in law from Flinders University with a particular interest in human rights, legal theory, and international law. Their Honours dissertation, “Self-Determination, Autonomy and Consent: The Rights of Intersex Children under the Australian Legal System”, was completed at the end of 2022, and they hope to someday write a PhD on intersex human rights and law reform. Olympia is also a member of South Australia’s newly-appointed LGBTIQA+ Advisory Council. They are an experienced researcher with strong research and writing skills, and have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of the ways in which the law mismanages intersex bodily autonomy and coercion from parents, families and medical practitioners, as well as positive legislative changes happening internationally. Social justice advocacy has remained a fundamental aspect of Olympia’s values and they continue to demonstrate this through both their personal and professional life. As a former director of IHRA, they are aware of the varying and ongoing needs of the intersex community, beyond their own lived experience, and look forward to using their skills and knowledge through IHRA to uplift and promote the rights of the intersex community.

Cody Smith has stepped into a new role of Training and Communications Officer, leveraging their science communication expertise. Cody says:

I look forward to stepping into a role that takes better advantage of my academic background and allows me to play to my strengths. Activism and peer support is vital and rewarding work, but takes a toll. I hope in this new capacity I can continue to benefit the intersex community while stepping back from the pressures of advocacy.

Gabriel adds:

Joining IHRA has been a long term aspiration of mine, as is the move into human rights. I am coming into this new role with passion and energy to contribute to bettering the experiences and outcomes of australians with innate variations and sex characteristics.

Olympia adds:

IHRA is instrumental in guiding legal reform towards the betterment of intersex human rights protections through its advocacy, and I cannot wait to be a part of it. I look forward to being able to use my legal and academic experience, as well as my passion for human rights to help create meaningful change for the intersex community.

Morgan Carpenter, executive director, says:

We are thrilled to be growing our staff team, in response not only to a sometimes overwhelming demand for our time but also the generous support of philanthropic donors. We have needed staff resources to promote law reform, health reform, and meaningful inclusion in policies and services. As Cody indicates, growing our team of employees also allows us to better look after each other and enable staff to play to their strengths. Gabriel and Olympia are experienced, qualified professionals, and we are excited by the possibilities and programs that our expanded staff team will support.

Interested in joining our team? We have a current vacancy for a part-time administrator. Applications close on 25 November at 5pm AEDT.