Today is Intersex Awareness Day!
On October 26, 1996, a group of intersex activists organized a public demonstration to share their stories and raise awareness about intersex rights issues outside the conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Boston. This was the first ever public demonstration by intersex people in the US and the day is commemorated each year as Intersex Awareness Day.
In recognition of Intersex Awareness Day, Howard Brown affirms its commitment to upholding the rights of intersex people. Howard Brown believes that healthcare is a human right that should be afforded to all people free from discrimination and violence. Howard Brown also believes that affirming healthcare requires informed consent, and that patient bodily autonomy must be respected. Today, we join a growing number of health and human rights organizations in urging that medically unnecessary surgeries performed on intersex infants and children be delayed until the patients are able to participate in the decision making process and consent to surgery if they so choose.
Intersex patients, as well as their families and caretakers, deserve to be provided with a full and accurate explanation of the benefits and complications of surgical interventions, as well as explanations of all alternative treatment options, including delay of intervention. Comprehensive and affirming care for intersex patients should include a multidisciplinary care team of mental health providers, primary care providers, surgical specialists, social workers, community/peer support networks, and ethics and legal advisors.
Finally, Howard Brown calls for increased biomedical and social/behavioral research that examines long-term health outcomes and addresses disparities and unique needs of intersex people and their families. The development and execution of this research should involve input from the intersex community. Howard Brown also calls for the development and dissemination of educational resources and cultural competency training for providers and healthcare facility staff on providing affirming, non-pathologizing, and comprehensive care for intersex patients.