Intersex invincibility with the work of intersex human right


Today 26 October marks Intersex Awareness Day. On this day intersex activist from Intersex Society of North America and allies from Transsexual menace held the firs intersex demonstration in Boston back in 1996. Intersex means being born with a mix of anatomical sex traits (chromosomes, genitals and/ or reproductive organs) that are not traditionally considered to be both male and female or atypical for either.

On this Day Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA) celebrates human diversity. Intersex traits are not abnormality that needs to be fixed. Intersex invisibility remains a concern especially here in Southern Africa. It is important for the voices of Intersex people to lead and take ownership of Intersex movement. “Intersex community is often forgotten and misrepresented; let’s join forces in fighting the ignorance of this vulnerable minority. Movement or activism without Intersex people themselves is nothing but agenda driven by assumptions” says Tebogo Nkoana from TIA. Intersex is still taboo and treated as a shame within our communities. Many children suffer humiliation and isolation because they are born Intersex, whereas others continue to be the subject of unnecessary irreversible and non-consensual surgical procedures from the medical sector. Over the past 5 years if not more, we have seen a significant growth of Intersex human rights work around different parts of the world. Many medical practitioners began to understand that not all Intersex bodies needs to be “fixed”, some doctors also invested in advocating for no surgical procedures when dealing with Intersex children. We have also seen an increased psychological support provided to Intersex people.

“In the past few years, through the efforts and Intersex activists, we have seen an increase in Intersex visibility within UN spaces and a few countries including Intersex with anti-discrimination legislation. This progress should not distract us from the reality that Intersex people are still victims of medical injustice and human rights violation. It is troubling that society is able to see that Female Genitals Mutilation (FGM) as a human right violation but struggle to make the same connection when it comes to Intersex Genital Mutilation, simply because the latter often happens in medical settings. On this day we should call for greater visibility on Intersex issues, greater collaboration with intersex persons themselves taking the lead. Most of all we need public and medical change when it comes to the treatment of Intersex persons. Bodily integrity and anatomy should be everyone’s right” says Nthabiseng Mokoena, Intersex Activist.

“The truth is that Intersex people need to voice and drive their agenda. It is only their voices and visibility that will be mostly relevant in contributing towards changing how the world treats and see Intersex people. Intersex issues are still misunderstood and misrepresented, in most cases not even represented at all. We encourage Intersex people especially black and rural area based to take ownership of Intersex struggle. It is our traditional leaders and social norms that influence negative and stereotype response towards Intersex people” Says Tebogo Nkoana from TIA

“I have learned to accept myself as the way that I am because this is how I was born. Being Intersex does not make me different from anybody else but makes me a special person amongst them. I realized that I was not critically ill, it is just that I was born congenital hyperplasia. I am not shameful of myself” says Keitumetse Skonta, Intersex Activist

For more information please contact:
Tebogo Nkoana
Transgender and Intersex Africa

Click here to download the statement:
Intersex Awareness Day 2015

Dr Collin

Remember the fight we had with Doctor Collin last year? How he refused to issue a referral letter to one of his trans* patients so that the person can apply for a new Identity document with the Department of Home Affairs? How he only issued the letter once we intervened and yet the letter was incorrectly written? Well… we are proud to say that after all the fighting and advocating, the trans* man who was mistreated by Dr Collin has just been contacted by the Department of Home Affairs to come and collect his new ID book. He is now legally recognized as male and it will reflect on his ID book. We all know how difficult and almost impossible it is to try and live without an ID book in South Africa, let alone an ID book that does not reflect your true gender.

A Win Against Transphobia in the Workplace

Finally after much struggle and lobbying, one of our constituents who is a trans* woman has been employed by a large retail store in South Africa. She had been struggling to get a job because of the discrimination she faced as a transgender person. We are constantly flooded by queries from people who are about to begin their medical transition and they are afraid to loose their jobs because of workplace discrimination on the basis of their gender identity.

The constitution of South Africa prohibits all unfair discrimination on the basis of sex, gender or sexual orientation, whether committed by the government or by a private party. The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, restates this constitutional prohibition.

Transphobia in the workplace is unproductive and unconstitutional!!!!!!

October 2012 Update

After our tense meeting with Steve Biko Hospital, followed by article City press article, 2 members of TIA who were previously refused treatment have now confirmed that the hospital is now assisting them. Today one of them is receiving her hormones for the first time after 5 years of struggle . As TIA team we proud to see our work paying off. SMS from Catricia “Hello Tebogo I saw the panel today and i got my hormones. Thank you a lot for bieng there for me” Congratulations Cate!!!

Activity Update

* 2-5 October: We were attending a Capacity Development Trajectory programme in Namibia.
*6 October : We had an information stall/desk at Johannesburg Pride in order to bring visibility of the Transgender and Intersex community and offer medical and legal advice to trans and intersex individuals.
* 8-11 October : We were finalising projects and activity plans for the remainder of the year and the coming year, watch this space, great things are going to be happening!
* 11 October : In the spirit of solidarity, our Advocacy coordinator accompanied Nadzeya Husakouskaya to the Ukranian Embassy in Pretoria, in order to submit a letter stating activists’ disapproval at the prohibition of proganda of homosexuality bill in Ukraine.
* 12 October: Transgender and Intersex Africa had a visit from Flavian Rhode from Positive Vibes, one of the managers and organisers of the Southern African LGBTI capacity development programme( Twafika). We met to discuss the organisation’s capacity development plans and how to make the organisation better for you.
*13-15 October: we are busy with fundraising, media interviews and support group activation.