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September 8, 2011

IconActivists hold first ever International Intersex Forum

Advocates from every continent met for the world’s first International Intersex Organising Forum in Brussels at the weekend. The new Forum vowed to oppose ‘normalising’ surgeries and other forms of discrimination.

24 activists from 17 groups met to address shared issues. The Forum will campaign for intersex rights and back the creation of supportive spaces for intersex people and their families on an international, national and regional level.

“Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. The description is used in reference to a person’s physical body, rather than their gender identity or sexual orientation.

“It’s pretty much baby steps, very small organisations attended,” intersex activist Del LaGrace Volcano told Lesbilicious. “In terms of networking, finding out who we are, to agreeing upon core principles, it was fantastic.”

“In terms of having a real, international, intersex organisation, it’s a first,” s/He added. “What is new is this approach [...] it’s about making changes in the law and medical practice, coming from a human rights approach and not simply from identity politics.”

“People have this idea that [non-consensual] intersex surgeries don’t happen anymore. It is happening – here and worldwide.”

The Forum was sponsored and facilitated by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (IGLA), and supported by Transgender Europe and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organsiation (IGLYO).

“There are many LGBTQ people in the ‘I’,” said Volcano. “What connects us all is the fact we’re discriminated against on the grounds of our gender or the perception that we’re not normal.”

“We need allies, especially to alert us when anything happens about intersex.”

Intersex Activists Forum photo courtesy of Del LaGrace Volcano

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Ruth Pearce

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