The Intersex Campaign for Equality (IC4E)
Our mission is to promote human rights and equality for all intersex people through art, education, and action.
We recognize that to turn a blind eye to additional forms of discrimination and violence which many intersex people face based on their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or class is to consent to the culture of oppression; and we stand in solidarity with and support our most marginalized community members. We spoke out on behalf of non-binary, intersex college student Scout Schultz, an LBTQIA community leader at Georgia Tech, in September 2017, when they were fatally shot by campus police while suffering from mental health issues.
With the goal of dismantling oppression, and in the spirit of #MeToo, we pledge to address individuals or organizations who devalue or marginalize those most vulnerable within the intersex community, rather than condoning their marginalization with silence. We support and stand in solidarity with colleagues, such as Intersex People of Color and The Houston Intersex Society, who also represent (including at high staff levels) and advocate for marginalized intersex community members.
On February 19, 2015, intersex activists Dani Lee Harris, Dana Zzyym, and Hida Viloria re-branded OII-USA (founded in 2011 by Viloria as the American affiliate of the Organisation Intersex International (OII)), by co-founding the Intersex Campaign for Equality (IC4E). We recognizes that some intersex individuals, particularly particularly gender nonconforming intersex people and intersex people of color, remain stigmatized and marginalized even within the community, and we are dedicated to representing all intersex people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ability or class.
On Intersex Solidarity Day/Intersex Day of Remembrance, Nov 8, 2017, IC4E announced its new arts, education, and action focused mission. In addition, our E.D. Hida Viloria announce her resignation as Chairperson of the Organization Intersex International (OII), and that the IC4E is no longer the American affiliate of OII, known as OII-USA (formerly at oii-usa.org).
Stopping Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM)
Intersex infants and minors are often subjected to medically unnecessary surgeries and medical treatments in order to make their bodies’ sex characteristics conform to the binary male or female sex system, a practice often referred to as Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM) due to its similarities to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The Intersex Campaign for Equality (IC4E) condemns medically unnecessary, nonconsensual treatments performed on intersex infants and minors as Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM), and advocates that intersex people be allowed to make our own decisions about elective, medically unnecessary medical treatments. We believe IGM is driven by interphobia (negative attitudes against intersex bodies and people) and homophobia, which are used to justify the practice despite it being found so harmful that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child, the World Health Organization (WHO), GLMA (Gay And Lesbian Medical Association), and Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, NASGAP, and three former U.S. Surgeon Generals, have all called for an end to it.
Declassification of intersex as a “Disorders of Sex Development”
In 2006, being intersex was pathologized by the global medical establishment with the label “disorders of sex development” (or “DSD”). Our founding director has advocated against the term “disorders of sex development” since 2007, and The Intersex Campaign for Equality (formerly OII-USA) has rejected “DSD” since our founding, because we believe it adds to social stigma against intersex people, which make it harder to protect intersex children’s rights to physical integrity and self determination.
Note: While we welcome the use of a modified version of the DSD acronym, representing “differences of sex development”, as an improvement, we believe that we are much more than simply bodily differences, and thus advocate for the rights of “intersex people” as equal citizens, rather than “patients” or “people with differences.”
Attaining Legal Gender Recognition for Non-Binary Intersex People
Note: The United States legal system uses the terms “sex” and “gender” interchangeably, as do many trans and non-trans people. Although we are aware of the difference between the terms, we shall use them in the way the legal system does in order to discuss this legal issue.
We believe that the lack of federal gender recognition for non-binary adults (those who do not identify as men or women) supports IGM by contributing to the perception that intersex infants and minors should be subjected to sex reassignment surgeries in order to make then “fit in” to one of two gender categories: male or female. Our Assicate Director Dana Zzyym is requesting an X on their passport –rather than an I for intersex– because we recognize that although some non-intersex people identify as non-binary, many intersex people are satisfied with their sex assignment as male or female, and we believe that gender categories should not be dependent on biological determinism.
Sex Assignment of Intersex Infants
In accordance with the demands of the global intersex community as stated in the Public Statement of the Third Intersex Forum (aka The Malta Declaration), we advocate that until intersex people have equal rights and protections, intersex infants should be assigned male or female as a non-binary designation could make them targets for state sanctioned discrimination. However, we support any parents who may wish to acknowledge their child’s intersex status and take on the battle of advocating for their intersex child’s equal rights.
Solidarity with the Global Intersex Community
Our founding E.D.has been in the vanguard of intersex activism since its inception, and served by selection as one of three intersex organizers, and the only American organizer, of the Third International Intersex Forum.
Between 29 November and 1 December 2013, the Third International Intersex Forum, supported by ILGA and ILGA-Europe, took place in Valletta, Malta. This event brought together 34 activists representing 30 intersex organisations from all continents.
It culminated in the release of the Public Statement of the Third International Intersex Forum, a.k.a. The Malta Declaration. It is the most widely accepted statement by the global intersex community, and we stand in support of the 17 demands listed therein, and below:
1. To put an end to mutilating and ”˜normalising”™ practices such as genital surgeries, psychological and other medical treatments through legislative and other means. Intersex people must be empowered to make their own decisions affecting own bodily integrity, physical autonomy and self-determination.
2. To put an end to preimplantation genetic diagnosis, pre-natal screening and treatment, and selective abortion of intersex foetuses.
3. To put an end to infanticide and killings of intersex people.
4. To put an end to non-consensual sterilisation of intersex people.
5. To depathologise variations in sex characteristics in medical guidelines, protocols and classifications, such as the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases.
6. To register intersex children as females or males, with the awareness that, like all people, they may grow up to identify with a different sex or gender.
7. To ensure that sex or gender classifications are amendable through a simple administrative procedure at the request of the individuals concerned. All adults and capable minors should be able to choose between female (F), male (M), non-binary or multiple options. In the future, as with race or religion, sex or gender should not be a category on birth certificates or identification documents for anybody.
8. To raise awareness around intersex issues and the rights of intersex people in society at large.
9. To create and facilitate supportive, safe and celebratory environments for intersex people, their families and surroundings.
10. To ensure that intersex people have the right to full information and access to their own medical records and history.
11. To ensure that all professionals and healthcare providers that have a specific role to play in intersex people”™s wellbeing are adequately trained to provide quality services.
12. To provide adequate acknowledgement of the suffering and injustice caused to intersex people in the past, and provide adequate redress, reparation, access to justice and the right to truth.
13. To build intersex anti-discrimination legislation in addition to other grounds, and to ensure protection against intersectional discrimination.
14. To ensure the provision of all human rights and citizenship rights to intersex people, including the right to marry and form a family.
15. To ensure that intersex people are able to participate in competitive sport, at all levels, in accordance with their legal sex. Intersex athletes who have been humiliated or stripped of their titles should receive reparation and reinstatement.
16. Recognition that medicalization and stigmatisation of intersex people result in significant trauma and mental health concerns.
17. In view of ensuring the bodily integrity and well-being of intersex people, autonomous non-pathologising psycho-social and peer support be available to intersex people throughout their life (as self-required), as well as to parents and/or care providers.
In view of the above the Forum calls on:
* International, regional and national human rights institutions to take on board, and provide visibility to intersex issues in their work.
* National governments to address the concerns raised by the Intersex Forum and draw adequate solutions in direct collaboration with intersex representatives and organisations.
* Media agencies and sources to ensure intersex people’s right to privacy, dignity, accurate and ethical representation.
* Funders to engage with intersex organisations and support them in the struggle for visibility, increase their capacity, the building of knowledge and the affirmation of their human rights.
* Human rights organisations to contribute to build bridges with intersex organisations and build a basis for mutual support. This should be done in a spirit of collaboration and no-one should instrumentalise intersex issues as a means for other ends.