Happy Intersex Awareness Day from Team TransLash! We’ve compiled some resource for our intersex siblings, as well as recommendations for allies.
Intersex Awareness Day, celebrated annually in the US on October 26th, started as a grassroots effort to get people to listen for what seemed like the very first time. That day, 25 years ago, members of the (no longer active) Intersex Society of North America, along with allies, made a presence at the annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Boston, MA in 1996. The group demonstrated and advocated for themselves, sharing pain publicly while denouncing the practice of non-consensual infant genital surgeries, making demands that the medical industry pay attention, and change things before more people get hurt and are forced into lives that are not their own.
Human Rights Watch published its first report on the consequences of these medically unnecessary surgeries in June of 2017, working closely with consultant Dr. Suegee Tamar-Mattis, who is intersex, a physician, and a parent, as well as with our partner organization, interACT Advocates for Intersex Youth. Along with the report, Human Rights Watch produced a video, featuring a Chicago intersex activist, Pidgeon Pagonis. In October of 2017, they published another report, focusing on the discomfort of US medical providers with the continued use of these surgeries.
In a long-fought for victory for intersex people, a hospital in Chicago pledged in 2020 to stop performing medically unnecessary surgeries on children born with intersex traits. The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital also became the first hospital in the United States to publicly apologize for the harm these surgeries caused intersex people, who are born with traits that don’t fit conventional expectations of female or male bodies.
There is a long way to go when it comes to safety, justice, and equality for intersex people, but intersex activists such as Sean Saifa Wall are leading the way. Below you can find intersex-affirming books, videos, and other resources helpful to both members of the community, and to allies and families. Happy reading, and happy Intersex Awareness Day!
- 3 Intersex Artists You Should be Paying Attention To, Traklife
- A Doctor Asked Me for a Dialogue on Why They Shouldn’t Cut Up Intersex Babies – Here’s My Response by Pidgeon Pagonis
- Be An Ally On Intersex Awareness Day by Debi Jackson (who was a guest on the TransLash Podcast with Imara Jones, you can listen to her interview in our episode, The Religious Right and Trans Healthcare)
- Intersex Activist and Writer Hida Viloria on Being ‘Born Both’, Rolling Stone
- Its Intersex Awareness Day – here are 5 myths we need to shatter by Amnesty International
- Resources for students focusing on Intersex Studies, Intersex Initiative
- The Forgotten Vowel: How Intersex Liberation Benefits the Entire LGBTQIA Community by Hilda Viloria
- Who are the world’s most prominent intersex heroes and activists? by SCMP.com
- Why We Need To Keep The “I” A Part Of The LGBTQIA+ Conversation In Politics by Jonathan Leggette
- Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman
- Annabel by Kathleen Winter
- Born Both: An Intersex Life by Hilda Viloria
- Golden Boy: A Novel by Abigail Tarttelin
- Intersex (for Lack of a Better Word) by Thea Hillman
- Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides
- None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio
- Read These 8 Works of Intersex Fiction Right Now, Autostraddle [Article]
- The Land Between : Intersex Characters in Novels and Memoir, Rainbow Round Table Book and Media Reviews [Article]
- Intersex Justice Project empowers intersex activists of color to advance change.
- 26 Ways Allies Can Support Intersex Awareness Day by InterACT
- How to Support Intersex People on Intersex Awareness Day — And Every Day by Hans Lindahl
- InterACT’S resource page is helpfully categorized into sections for easy navigation. Visit their website for DIY resources, ethics of surgery and decision making, research ethics and human subject protection, intersex movement and community history, and more.
- The Agender Agenda made this detailed resource page filled with worldwide organizations, demonstrations of activism and human rights work, as well as education and blog information.
- Understanding the Intersex Community is an in-depth article made by the Human Rights Campaign that walks us through the surgeries practiced on children non-consensually, what it means to be intersex, and more.
- United Nations for Intersex Awareness is a page that goes into their support, advocacy, and ways you can help.
- IG REPLAY: Intersex Visibility feat. Pidgeon Pagonis and River Gallo, Outfest Artist to Artist Conversation
- How You can Help End Intersex Genital Mutilation Right Now, Intersex Campaign for Equality
- TEDx Talks by Intersex People: 36 Revolutions of Change, Sean Saifa Wall
- Intersex is Awesome, Kristina & Ori Turner
- The way we think about biological sex is wrong, Emily Quinn
- This Girl Has Balls, Georgiann Davis
- Raising The World And An Intersex Child, NBC News
- What It’s Like To Be Intersex, As/Is
- What’s It Like To Be Intersex?, UNILAD
- #IntersexAwarenessDay series in which 10 intersex creators and activists chose 4 questions to answer together.
Submit any useful Intersex Awareness Day resource links that we may have missed here.
[Top Image Description: an orange background holds text that says “TRANSLASH GUIDE TO INTERSEX AWARENESS DAY” – along with the hashtag #IntersexAwarenessDay and the TransLash logo]
[Bottom Image Description: a yellow background holds an Intersex Pride symbol – along with the hashtag #EndIntersexSurgery and the TransLash logo, with text that says “Learn More” with resources already listed in this guide]
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