Health and medical ethics

For an introduction to these issues, see our page on bodily integrity

intersex flag

Intersex Awareness Day, 2015

OII Australia president Morgan Carpenter writes on genetics research and more developments over the last twelve months in this year’s reflection on Intersex Awareness Day. In recent weeks, the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne announced the discovery of a new “syndrome leading to intersex”, one of at least 40 different and mostly genetic…
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OHCHR

Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health

Dr Dainius Puras, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, has published a report that will shortly be tabled to the UN General Assembly. It contains a section on intersex children: Intersex children 84. “Intersex” refers mainly to physical aspects…
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UN side event on intersex and human rights

On Friday, a side event was held at the UN Human Rights Council with intersex human rights defenders from five continents. Morgan Carpenter (OII Australia) moderated a panel featuring Julius Kaggwa (SIPD, Uganda), Hiker Chiu (Oii-Chinese, Taiwan), Kimberly Zieselman (AIC, US) and Dan Ghattas (OII Europe, Germany). The event was very kindly supported by ILGA and COC Netherlands.

Statement by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

Statement on intersex by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

In his opening address to the 30th Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, talked specifically about intersex people: Far too few of us are aware of the specific human rights violations faced by millions of intersex people. Because their bodies don’t comply with…
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Submission to NHMRC on genetic selection against intersex traits

In April 2014, OII Australia made a lengthy submission to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) calling for the prohibition of genetic testing to select against intersex traits. Unfortunately, draft guidelines by the NHMRC support decision making by individual clinicians in defining and screening “serious genetic conditions”. The same language of “serious” “genetic…
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Flinders University

Intersex sexual health survey

A new research project on intersex sexual health was announced yesterday. The research team is experienced and familiar with intersex populations, and we’re pleased to support this project. Some people might find the language around “marginalisation” unusual; we note that language is evolving as understandings of intersex shift to recognise our human rights. We write…
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OHCHR symbol

UN Free & Equal campaign publishes intersex fact sheet

Overnight, the UN OHCHR released a long-awaited intersex fact sheet, as part of the Free&Equal campaign. Intersex people are born with sex characteristics that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. Being intersex is much more common than most people think – according to experts there are as many intersex people…
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"Contesting Intersex, The Dubious Diagnosis" by Georgiann Davis

Georgiann Davis, “Contesting Intersex”

Georgiann Davis’s first book, “Contesting Intersex, The Dubious Diagnosis” is hotly awaited, and the first chapter has just become available online, from the publisher. Here are a couple of quotes (references omitted): I show how contemporary U.S. medical experts on intersex, like much of society, tend to hold narrow, essentialist understandings of sex, gender, and…
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Inaugural Bob Hepple Award winners

Congratulations to Mauro Cabral

The visibility of the intersex movement is hampered by our worldwide lack of resourcing. It’s also notable that intersex and LGBT movements can often diverge: while most intersex people know a lot about issues affecting same sex attracted and transgender people, this is frequently not reciprocal. There are few intersex voices in LGBTI spaces, our…
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Resilient Individuals

Human Rights Commissioner: Bodily autonomy is basic human right

The Australian Human Rights Commissioner launched the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Rights report today, “Resilient Individuals”. It notes continuing forced surgical interventions on intersex people, and calls for implementation of the Senate committee report, Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia.