Intersex Awareness Day

Today marks Intersex Awareness Day, recognised internationally each year on the anniversary of the first demonstration by intersex advocates at a medical conference at the American Academy of Paediatrics.

Intersex is a normal part of human diversity.  ‘Intersex’, ‘intersex variations’ ‘variations in sex characteristics’ and ‘differences of sex development’ are umbrella terms for people born with physical, hormonal or genetic characteristics that don’t fit with typical male or female ‘norms’.  There are lots of different types of variations and different people prefer different terms to describe their bodies.

Over time, care pathways for children with intersex variations have evolved in response to both improved knowledge and understanding of these variations and advocacy from affected individuals.

At a Federal and state level, considerable work has been undertaken to engage the intersex community, advocates, and clinicians to determine future care pathways, and the RCH is proud to be an active contributor to these discussions.

We remain committed to providing the best care and outcomes for each individual patient, and believe it remains critically important that each child’s individual needs are considered and recognised in any change to care pathways.

The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) is proud to support intersex patients, the intersex community and Intersex Awareness Day.

5 comments for “Intersex Awareness Day”

  1. Michelle McGrath

    I ask when will your commitment begin to fall in line with the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission report “Ensuring health and bodily integrity (2021)” and the 12 recommendations begin?

    Reply
  2. Simone-lisa Anderson

    When will your first option stop being surgery?

    Reply
  3. Morgan Carpenter

    Thank you for posting an acknowledgement of Intersex Awareness Day. To many people with intersex variations, some of the words used in this statement will read like dog whistles, and for other folk, maybe consider listening to clinicians at RCH talk about what they do in a debate from 2020: https://ihra.org.au/36471/intersexion-mdscx-2020/

    I think we will know things will have changed when your statement contains an apology for harms that some of your clinicians have acknowledged, but I realise that RCH cannot do this while practices – and legislation – remain unchanged

    Reply
  4. Dylan Reynolds

    This statement rings a little hollow. Would love to see an acknowledgement of the harms caused by doctors at RCH towards intersex people.

    I recognise that those doctors acted in accordance with what they considered to be best practice at the time, and that in all likelihood they believed they had the best of intentions and the interests of their patients at heart. With that said, I find it stunning that there is still no acknowledgement of harm done. The saying goes that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Continuing to deny that harm was even done is continuing to put intersex people in hell.

    Acknowledging that a mistake was made, or that harm was done doesn’t discount that core intention to do good that many doctors and other medical professionals have. Failing to acknowledge that mistake or harm, and failing to listen to intersex experts and peak bodies when they tell you what they need sends a message that you are actively discounting that core intention.

    You have been told unambiguously that you are doing harm. It’s your responsibility now to address that in line with what those experts are saying.

    Reply
  5. Cody Smith

    To echo what has been said, none of this feels sincere while there is so much left unanswered, and so much left out of this post. I’d love to be able to take these kinds of niceties at face value, and in some ways I do feel grateful that you’re at least willing to acknowledge a day like today that celebrates the intersex community.

    But the track record isn’t good. And deliberately avoiding talking about developments in the space is conspicuous. If we share common goals, the best possible care of intersex people, we should have more common ground than this. Hopefully in time this conversation can start to happen on better terms than it does now.

    Reply

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