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Intersex Awareness Day: 'Guaranteeing intersex people’s rights concerns us all'

“Every day, children are born with sex characteristics that are not exclusively either male or female. Yet there is little awareness of their situation – and this lack of knowledge is directly linked to violations of their rights,” said Piet De Bruyn (Belgium, NR), General rapporteur on the rights of LGBTI people, on the eve of Intersex Awareness Day, 26 October. “Intersex Awareness Day is a crucial chance to throw a spotlight on the situation and rights of intersex people, so as to help turn this situation around.”

“Just two weeks ago, the Assembly adopted a ground-breaking resolution on the rights of intersex people,” he noted. “We called on states to put an end to invasive, irreversible and unnecessary surgery on intersex children, and to ensure that the right to physical integrity and the principle of informed consent are fully respected for every intersex person. We called for simple and effective legal gender recognition procedures, so as to guarantee respect for the private life and human dignity of all intersex people, and for effective antidiscrimination legislation to be in place. We recommended that states support research into the situation of intersex people and the impact on their lives of medical treatment received without their consent. And, very importantly, we called for states to carry out extensive campaigns both among concerned professionals and vis-à-vis the general public.”

“Taking a holistic approach, from the perspective of the persons concerned, is crucial to promoting the rights of intersex people and eliminating discrimination against them. On Intersex Awareness Day, I urge everyone, including all states, to listen closely to the stories of intersex people and kick-start the journey to ensuring full respect for their rights,” he concluded.