Add Human Rights Protection for Intersex Variations into the Equality Act 2010
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What if you were expecting a child but when they arrived it wasn’t clear whether they were a girl or boy?
A person can be born with an intersex variation which means their genitalia/body does not meet the typical norms associated with being either Male or Female. It is also sometimes known as a Disorder or Difference of Sex Development (DSD) and there are various biological conditions which come under the umbrella term “intersex” and it is not the same as being trans.
The Equality Act 2010 currently does not specifically include intersex as a protected characteristic. It has rarely been mentioned by Parliament and had even been neglected by the Government Equalities Office and other Human Rights Organisations. This petition calls for amendments to the Act to ensure specific protection from discrimination is provided to individuals who have intersex conditions and their families.
I myself live with Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, which means my genitalia was ambiguous at birth, and have had surgeries on my genitalia since I was a baby. Unfortunately, people like myself live with secrecy and shame which has been institutionalised through the medicalisation of intersex variations this has resulted in a wide range of issues around identity, consent and wider human rights issues. Surgeries in the UK and around the world have been performed on intersex infants without parents having a full understanding of what it entails. And whilst some procedures performed may be life-saving, and all intersex surgeries are said to be done in the “best interests of the child”, many surgeries are simply cosmetic and are performed without the full risks being made clear to those affected.
I believe that this change with the Equality Act 2010 could bring greater awareness of wider human rights issues faced by intersex people and their families. By amending Section 4 of the Act, we can introduce specific support to encourage organisations and people to make sure they’re not discriminating against individuals with intersex variations. Unfortunately, there is a sheer lack of knowledge that intersex exists and there are very limited options available for support around intersex issues. I hope this can start the conversations around intersex variations that are desperately needed.
Please see below for more about my own story:
More information about intersex is available here:
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