Each year on October 26th we further raise knowledge and awareness of Intersexuality through Intersex Awareness Day!
Although it is believed that around 1 in 2,000 people are born Intersex globally, identifying as Intersex is something we rarely speak about.
So what is Intersex Awareness Day and even more so for those that don't know, what is Intersex and how can I help bring further awareness?
We highlight everything you'll need to know about what being Intersex means with further information on Intersex Awareness Day and how to show your solidarity with Intersex people!
What is Intersex?
In short, Intersex is a term which is used to describe any person who may have the biological attributes of both sexes or whose biological attributes don't fit with the societal assumptions that normally constitutes male or female.
Read more about gender conforming and pronouns in our pronouns day blog.
Although we generally speak of Intersex as an inborn condition, the anatomy of Intersex doesn't always appear evident at birth. In some cases, a person isn't found to have Intersex anatomy until they reach the age of puberty or find themself infertile. It isn't uncommon for some people to live out their life without every knowing they were Intersex.
Intersex is a socially constructed category that reflects real biological variation; For this reason people have different ideologies on which variations of sexual anatomy count as Intersex.
What Problems do Intersex People Face?
Due to the lack of public awareness and knowledge of being Intersex, some people don't even realise they are Intersex until later in life or never at all.
Even when and if they realise, Intersex people far to often experience prejudice and discrimination due to their bodies not conforming to other people's exceptions about sex and gender.
Intersex stigma also plays a very unfortunate role within the depression rates in youth. Many Intersex children feel shame from negative experiences at their doctors, possible surgeries, secrecy and even reactions from friends and family.
In some areas of the world, people who have visible Intersex traits face abandonment and violence. In some countries such as Africa, South Asia, Brazil and China, it is more common for Intersex people to be subjected to unnecessary and unwanted medical interventions with some babies born with Intersex characteristics murdered.
What is Intersex Awareness Day?
Intersex Awareness Day takes place on October 26 each year. This year in 2020, marks the 16th anniversary of the first one, or the 17th if you count the very first time it was talked about, in 2003.
When Intersex Awareness Day first began, it was suggested the entire month of October be devoted to talking about intersex; Today many recognise it as the period between October 26 and November 8, which is noted as Intersex Solidarity Day.
Both days share the same dedicated reasoning in raising further awareness about Intersexuality and fighting for equality through sharing stories, information and news around the world!
The Origins of Intersex Awareness Day
October 26, marks the anniversary of the first public demonstration by Intersex people back in 1996. It was on this date that members of the no longer existent Intersex Society of North America and their allies arrived in Boston, MA at the annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
They demonstrated and shared their pain in a very public way, denouncing non-consensual infant genital surgeries and demanding the medical industry take notice. Doctors dismissed the activists as a vocal minority in a 1997 New York Times article covering the intersex action. Thankfully now, the tides are slowly changing.
Today Intersex people across the globe follow in their footsteps and together in solidarity raise further awareness to Intersexuality!
How do I Show my Solidarity?
Showing your solidarity and joining the fight for Intersex equality doesn't require much from you and your help can go a long way!
Actions such as sharing a simple post with hashtag #IntersexAwarenessDay can help amplify the voices of Intersex people online and on social media platforms.
If you personally have a friend or family member who is Intersex, just being there and supporting them is more than enough too! Providing a safe space and friendly face with understanding will make them feel so much better and equal than you could possibly ever know!
Raising awareness to Intersex isn't just for the two days highlighted in October either! Groups and allies, including Joshua Lloyd organise all year round to bring further awareness and knowledge to Intersex people and you can always share content throughout the year to help.
What is Joshua Lloyd Doing?
Creating a greater understanding of Intersexuality alongside the diverse world of LGBTQ+ identities is something that we strive to provide at Joshua Lloyd. We are constantly creating and distributing material and content on how you can be as aware and inclusive as possible.
We work hard on ensuring our voices reach as many as possible and share our content across social media, our blog posts and websites alongside email and message boards to name a few.
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Be sure to leave us a comment below if you found this article useful! We love hearing back from our community ensuring we are producing the content you like to see!
But for now, as always: Stay safe and speak to you again very soon!
The Joshua Lloyd Team