Intersex Awareness Day on Oct 26
from Katharine B. Dalke, MD MBE
On October 26, 1996, a group of activists protested at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) meeting in Boston. The group, bearing a banner reading "Hermaphrodites with Attitude!" included two intersex people - Max Beck and Morgan Holmes - and 10 allies. They came to the meeting to engage doctors on the needs of intersex patients, and how the AAP-endorsed "normalizing" surgical treatment for intersex children was harmful. This was the first public demonstration for intersex rights, and its anniversary is celebrated annually on Intersex Awareness Day.
Intersex refers to any variation in physical sex traits with which someone is born. Sometimes known as differences of sex development, intersex traits are common: the broadest definition of intersex has been estimated to be found in 1.7% of the US population.
Some intersex traits are identified at birth, and others in adulthood. Although intersex people are to more likely to be LGBTQ than people without intersex traits, many are cisgender and heterosexual. Some people identify as intersex, and others as having a medical condition.
But all of us know what it's like to have a body that is considered "abnormal," and to feel pressure to keep it secret. Many of us have had surgeries to make us conform to binary sex categories - procedures sometimes referred to a surgical conversion therapy. That's why Intersex Awareness Day is so important: the visibility of intersex people, living and thriving, is an act of radical resistance.
To support Intersex Awareness Day, please visit InterACTAdvocates.org for stories and social media resources.