It is telling that when we open emails about IDAHOBIT day we see a variety of interpretations of the name. As a day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia, we see a variety of other terms tacked on the end. Words like ‘interphobia’, ‘intersexphobia’, ‘intersexism’, or intersex discrimination get thrown around, if intersex is acknowledged at all. Sometimes it feels like this is the only day where people search for a word, and this year we are seeing a broader statement that IDAHOBIT day stands against LBGTIQA+ discrimination. In this format intersex issues are often minimised and misunderstood. At the end of the day, this all ends up contributing to what we might more readily recognise as discrimination against the intersex community.
When we picture phobia based violence, it’s often yelling and screaming and in your face. This was not only incredibly true of the marriage equality debate some years ago, but has become true of the reactionary political climate against transgender rights. In 2023 a snapshot of phobia looks like confrontation in public bathrooms, violent protests being met with furious counterprotests, events getting shut down due to violent threats, and online spaces devolving into a quagmire of attacking and hateful speech. All while human rights discourse is actively undermined and rolled back. This hostile environment feels impossible to thrive in, whether we are affected through our own intersectionalities or our relationships. We have always and will always stand with our LGBTQA+ siblings, on IDAHOBIT day and every other day.
If we are to talk about violence against people with intersex traits in this context, we see intersex people used to prop up arguments about the human rights of others, leaving our needs ignored, and at the same time we also see our experiences denied or discarded as “statistically insignificant” by their detractors. Policing of bodies and gender presentation that targets women with masculine features inevitably targets women with intersex traits. Laws that seek to punish trans people for being trans also sadly inflict medical violence on children with intersex traits. Even in Australia, as we seek to negotiate legislation across Australia, the discourse is slowly getting hijacked by those who want to use our rights to bludgeon others. Intersex rights, women’s rights, and trans rights are not a mutually exclusive set of ideas. At the end of the day we (should) all fight for autonomy, consent, and safety.
Our fight against bigotry and discrimination continues to be against harmful practices, including unnecessary medical procedures done to our bodies without personal consent. We stand against bullying and discrimination on the basis of sex characteristics and physical diversity. Intersex traits are still targeted by genetic selection in IVF. Sports policies intended to exclude trans people are far more likely to exclude women with intersex traits, and participation at the highest levels demands we change our bodies against our will. If you need a word to more accurately identify all these systems that privilege endosex people over intersex people, instead of ‘interphobia’ or ‘intersexism’, perhaps it is endosexism. More importantly, whatever word you use, we want you to care about how we are treated by medicine law and society.