Downloadable PDF Document:
For nearly a decade, the National LGBT Health Education Center has been providing educational programs to health centers and other health care organizations with the goal of optimizing health care quality and eliminating health disparities for sexual and gen- der minority people. Recently, we and our parent organization, The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, have come to recognize the imperative to more actively include the health of intersex people in our mission and training programs. Therefore, all of our pro- grams now use the acronym LGBTQIA+, which refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and all sexual and gender minority people. As part of our commitment to sup- porting the health of all LGBTQIA+ people, we have written the following community-informed clinical guide on primary care for intersex people. The guide provides an overview of intersex terms and concepts, the health concerns of intersex people, intersex-af- firming practices, and resources for further learning.
NATIONAL LGBTQIA+ HEALTH EDUCATION CENTER
A Program of The Fenway Institute
This is me. I hid for 27 years and now I’m finally proud enough to authentically live my life in public. I am intersex. My body is beautiful. I am INDOMITABLE! Click the links below to learn more and contribute. http://cxycourtney.com http://linktr.ee/courtney.skaggs
“Courtney Skaggs always felt, well, different from other girls growing up, but she didn’t really know how different until she had the birds-and-the-bees talk with her parents as she inched toward adolescence.”
Read more at the Salt Lake Tribune: https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2020/10/24/i-will-never-fit-how/
Downloadable PDF Document
WHO ARE INTERSEX PEOPLE?
Intersex people have innate variations of sex characteristics that differ from medical and social norms for female or male bodies. Intersex is an umbrella term for a diverse range of different traits that can be determined prenatally, at birth, during puberty and at other times. These traits include androgen insensitivity, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, 17-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 3 deficiency, and many more.
Because their bodies are perceived as different, intersex people are at risk of stigmatisation, violence and harmful practices, including forced or coercive medical interventions intended to make their bodies more typically female or male.
Sex characteristics: physical features relating
to sex, including genitalia and other sexual and reproductive anatomy, chromosomes, hormones, and secondary physical features emerging from puberty.1
Sex: legal or social status initially based on sex characteristics observed at birth. In some cases, infants with intersex variations may undergo a series of examinations and tests to establish sex. In such cases, attempts will be made to determine the infant’s intersex variation and likely future gender identity. Normative ideas about how children’s bodies should look play a significant role in sex assignment.2 Many – perhaps most – intersex traits only become evident after sex assignment.
Disorders of sex development: a pejorative term for intersex traits introduced following an invite- only clinical workshop in 2005. Some individuals prefer the ameliorative term ‘differences of sex development’.
Endosex: a word meaning “non-intersex”. This can be helpful in acknowledging that intersex persons old enough to freely express an identity may be heterosexual and may identify with sex assigned at birth (commonly termed cisgender).
What is intersex?
Intersex is an umbrella term for differences in sex traits or reproductive anatomy. People are born with these differences or develop them in childhood. There are many possible differences in genitalia, hormones, internal anatomy, or chromosomes.
The problem is, children’s bodies are often changed for them because of shame and stigma. This includes surgeries to create a vagina, reduce a clitoris, or remove testes, usually before the age of two. We’ve worked with many of the world’s top human rights organizations, and all agree: surgeries to change sex traits must be the individual’s choice.
That’s why interACT uses innovative legal and other strategies to advocate for the human rights of children born with natural differences in their genitals, chromosomes, hormones, and reproductive anatomy.
» Frequently asked questions
» Learn how allies can get more involved
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You are not alone, and we invite your participation in our efforts of support, education, and outreach. Please browse our website to learn more, and reach out via our Contact page if you’d like to get involved or you need any assistance.
For many members, InterConnect was the first place they discovered that they were not alone. By donating, you are ensuring that we can continue to build this life-changing community.
Together, we can create a world that understands and embraces intersex people as the amazing individuals they are!
“When Marissa Adams was a toddler, she underwent surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital to make her genitalia look more like a doctor’s idea of “normal.” Like as many as 1.7 percent of people, Adams is intersex, born with some combination of hormonal, chromosomal or anatomical differences that put her outside of the textbook definition of female or male. And like a growing number of intersex people, she has spoken out about how surgery performed when she was too young to understand it left her with lasting emotional and physical difficulties.”
Read more in the article here: https://truthout.org/articles/intersex-activists-push-hospitals-to-ditch-nonconsensual-surgeries-on-children/
Intersex people form a diverse population with many different kinds of bodies, sex characteristics, sex assignments, genders, identities, life experiences, and terminology and word preferencess. What we share in common is an experience of having innate sex characteristics (such as chromosomes, gonads or hormones) that differ from medical norms for female or male bodies. We risk violence, stigmatisation and harmful practices because our bodies are seen as different.
Intersex is a matter of bodily diversity. Underlying intersex traits can become evident prenatally, at birth, during puberty or at other times. Intersex is not about sexual orientation; people with intersex variations have as diverse a range of sexual orientations as non-intersex (“endosex”) people. Intersex is not about an experience of transition or gender identity; we have as diverse a range of gender identities as non-intersex people. Intersex is primarily about the body, although intersex people may have an identity that is contingent on our embodiment and natural sex characteristics. The term intersex was first used by science in the early 20th century; historically, the term “hermaphrodite” was used. The term is not applicable to situations where individuals deliberately alter their own anatomical characteristics.
Although figures vary, intersex people represent a significant percentage of the population.
Intersex people, especially those of us who are diagnosed at birth, in infancy or during puberty, are often the subject of surgical or hormonal interventions to “fix” our sex characteristics and make our bodies appear more typically female or male. Where these interventions take place without personal, fully informed consent they are “harmful practices”; they are still considered “therapeutic” in Australia, and they often take place for “psychosocial” rationales, based on clinician “belief” and “opinion”. We vigorously oppose these human rights violations. In doing so, we are supported by a diverse range of human rights institutions and other allies.
Read a longer introduction to intersex in intersex for allies.
Find introductory information for prospective parents and parents of newborns, children and adolescents.
Read about bodily integrity, and eliminating harmful practices
Read about eugenics, prenatal screening and elimination
Read about discrimination, combatting discrimination and stigma
Read about identification documents, sex and gender
Read demographic data from a major 2015 study of people born with atypical sex characteristics.
Read our style guide on terminology for journalists and writers.
Read some definitions of intersex.
Read the Darlington Statement, a 2017 Australian and Aotearoa/New Zealand community consensus statement on intersex human rights and health issues.
Read about all our briefing papers and other resources.
The End Intersex Surgery Campaign
Participate in the #EndIntersexSurgery Campaign!
You can participate on-line: All the details are here!
To highlight the discriminatory and harmful medical practices taking place at Lurie Children’s hospital against intersex children, and to demand an end to these procedures which have been deemed a form of torture by the United Nations and condemned by Physicians for Human Rights and the World Health Organization, The GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, and many other human rights organizations.Demands
Public Apology – Apologize for the irreversible harmful surgeries that have been done on intersex people without their consent.
End Intersex Surgery – Stop performing medically unnecessary ‘cosmetic’ procedures on intersex children, such as surgeries meant to change the appearance or sexual function of an infant’s genitals, e.g. clitoral reductions, removal of functional testes, and vaginoplasties. Such surgeries should be delayed and only done with the full informed consent of the intersex patient. In the meantime, Lurie’s SDP staff (and all clinicians who see intersex kids) need to attend a sensitivity training created and facilitated BY intersex people we sign off on. Also, clinicians must begin offering a written resource, decided upon by folks in the #EndIntersexSurgery campaign, to all parents considering surgery.
Reparations – Provide free medical care that does not position intersex variations as problems to be fixed. This includes providing hormones and psychological support for intersex young people and their parents.
ZINES: Self-exams and Check-Ups
RAD Remedy and radical illustrator Isabella Rotman are collaborating to release a series of health guides about self-exams, checkups, hormone options, and other topics related to trans and queer health and wellness.
Ten Tips for Working With TGIQ* Patients
* trans, gender non-conforming, intersex, and queer
What Intersex People Want You to Know About Sex
Clitorises come in different sizes—it’s not a big deal
BY MADDIE ROSE
OCTOBER 21, 2020
SAVANA OGBURN / REFINERY29 FOR GETTY IMAGES
Sex should be about fun, fulfillment and connection. But for intersex people who have sex characteristics that don’t fit cleanly into binary male or female categories, there can be extra obstacles. Some intersex people have enlarged clitorises or smaller penises, extra body or facial hair, atypical breast development, or can’t have penetrative sex. Even though intersex people make up about 1.7% of the population, many endosex people aren’t educated about our bodies. They try to follow their usual routines around sex that don’t always work for us.
This puts us in an awkward spot: tell people right away about our bodies, or hope they don’t ask? Give guidance on how to get us off, or have a bland time in bed? Growing up with an MRKH diagnosis—an intersex condition where I am missing a vaginal canal—I often cut hookups off short. I didn’t want people to find out about my body, and struggled to explain how pleasure worked for me.
Sexual exploration can be better for everyone without assumptions of what someone’s body should look like, how they experience pleasure, or what sex looks like for them. Even among intersex people, no two people’s bodies are quite the same. Here are the experiences of four intersex members of interAct Youth on what they have learned about their own sex lives, and what partners should know. (go to the link to read the entire article).
Guess which one of us has testes?
Intersex Youth Advocacy Group: http://www.interactyouth.org