Advancing Health Equity for Intersex People
Setting health policy priorities to advocate for intersex health equity
Each year Intersex Awareness Day is celebrated in recognition of the first ever public demonstration of intersex advocates that took place on October 26, 1996. Intersex Awareness Day raises awareness about what it means to be intersex and advocates for the human rights and health equity of intersex people. Intersex is an umbrella term to describe people who are born with sex traits or anatomy that differ from the strict male/female binary. At Howard Brown, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rights of intersex people, as well as our belief that medically unnecessary surgeries performed on intersex infants should be delayed until the patients are able to meaningfully participate in the decision-making process and provide consent.
Howard Brown, in collaboration with InterACT and other LGBTQI health centers and advocacy organizations, released a report documenting various health policies that the Biden Administration should enact to improve the health and well-being of LGBTQI communities. Included in this report are recommendations to advance health equity for intersex people by explicitly including intersex people in research, data collection, and civil rights advocacy. Generally, there is a lack of research examining the health and needs of intersex people, but the research that has been conducted thus far shows that intersex people are disproportionately burdened by poor physical and mental health outcomes. We need increased funding to support public health research that specifically centers and engages with intersex communities to better understand health disparities, unique needs, and lived experiences. Similarly, increased systematic data collection and reporting on intersex populations—especially in health-related data surveillance systems like public health surveys and electronic health records—is crucial for developing tailored interventions and comprehensive best practices to eliminate intersex health disparities. Increased research and data collection are crucial to support advocacy in upholding and protecting the rights of intersex people. As the Biden Administration moves to advance health equity and strengthen nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people, it should also include protections to ensure that intersex people can access health and social services free from discrimination and stigma.
For more information about Intersex Awareness Day and resources about intersex healthcare and advocacy, you can visit: https://interactadvocates.org/