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Intersex Awareness Day - a primer on intersex people

2017 10 25 Intersex

Intersex Awareness Day falls on the 26th of October, providing education about intersex people, whom are part of the diverse sexuality and gender community.

Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. 

- United Nations

The United Nations estimates that 'between 0.05% and 1.7% of the population is born with intersex traits... In some cases, intersex traits are visible at birth while in others, they are not apparent until puberty. Some chromosomal intersex variations may not be physically apparent at all.'

This statistic means that there could be as many intersex people in the world than there are people with red hair.

Intersex people also have a sexual orientation, and gender identity just like everyone else. They might be gay, straight, lesbian, or bisexual; transgender; or male, female, or non-binary gender.

Some intersex people prefer to change their sex on both birth certificates and/or other official documents as their recorded sex at birth may be different to their actual gender identity. For intersex people, administrative changes to better reflect their sex and gender marker to be male, female or X is not generally due to gender dysphoria.

The Australian Government guidelines for the recognition of sex an gender, combine sex and gender markers, which can create some confusion for intersex people.

A sex marker refers to a person's is the biological and physical anatomy: female, X - intersex or male.

A gender marker refers to a person's gender identity: female, X - indeterminate/unspecified, or male.

Some intersex person elect to have their combined sex and gender marker to be male or female, while others might perfer their marker to be X.

It is therefore important to talk to a person about their sex and gender mark when required, because as a combined marker, it may not accurately describe a person's sex or gender.

Intersex Awareness Day is recognised across the globe as a time to reflect and highlight the challenges faced by intersex people, and to encourage visibility, education and tolerance. 

More Information:

United Nations Intersex Fact Sheet: https://unfe.org/system/unfe-65-Intersex_Factsheet_ENGLISH.pdf

Intersex Day: http://intersexday.org/en/

Image Source: http://intersexday.org/en/ 

About the Author
Author: James Smith
James is the Secretary and the Communications Director for DEFGLIS. He has served as Communications Director since 2013.
Also written by this author:

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