Warning: This statement covers the topic of Genital Mutilation among the intersex community.
Every November 8th is Intersex Day of Remembrance, also called Intersex Day of Solidarity. This Day honours the birthday of Herculine Barbin, a nineteenth century French intersex lesbian who tragically died by suicide after being found by doctors to be intersex, tried in court for gender fraud, and forced to reassign their sex to male.
The Day calls us to stand with intersex people, take political action, and educate ourselves.
Intersex is an umbrella term used to describle bodies that fall outside the strict female/male binary. To dive into this, read Let’s Talk about the I in 2SLGBTQIA+ and watch this Intersex is Awesome TED X by intersex youth Ori.
Intersex Genital Mutilation, or IGM, is non-consensual, harmful, and unnecessary medical intervention in which doctors perform “corrective” genital surgery with the goal of making a person’s body, often a baby or child, conform to the chosen assigned gender, eliminating the chances of that person choosing what to do with their body in the future.
Forms of IGM include but are not limited to “corrective” genital surgery mentioned above, forced sterilizing procedures, imposition of hormones (including prenatal “therapy”), forced genital exams, vaginal dilations, human experimentation, selective (late-term) abortion, and denial of needed health care.
The more we understand about intersex people, the less medicalisation will happen. Intersex children who are yet to be born will have well- informed parents who can endeavour to bring their child up in a way to give the child autonomy over their own identity.
Intersex people face many other civil and human rights issues, including gender recognition, marriage rights, education and service access, and employment opportunity.
So let’s amplify the work intersex people do, and don’t leave them out of our activism!
Antonietta/ Netta Coccaro (they/them)
PSAC Ontario Council