Today, the 8th of November, is Intersex Day of Remembrance. It is the 14th and ultimate day of The Fourteen Days of Intersex Awareness. This day marks Herculine Barbin’s birthday. Barbin lived in France in the 19th century and is regarded as the first intersex person to have written their biography. Barbin committed suicide in 1868 after legal authorities forced a transition to male.
Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA) would like to thank activists, allies and other mainstream organizations for the help in raising awareness around intersex issues during the 14 days of Intersex. We were able to attract the attention of general society, media and government in order to highlight the key challenges of intersex people in South Africa. We urge society to keep the conversation, advocacy and activism around intersex human rights alive; this should not only be done during the 14 days of intersex but every day of the year.
Even today, as in the days of Herculin Barbin, intersex people’s rights to bodily autonomy are still not fully recognized. Intersex People are still forced into normalization processes according socially constructed binaries. Transgender and Intersex Africa recognizes the hard work that advocates and activists worldwide have done in the pursuit to bring about a better life for intersex people and raise awareness about their issues. For this reason we would like to commend the life and work of Sally Gross and other intersex activists in South Africa. Gross is the founder and director of Intersex Society of South Africa (ISSA) and is the person that ensured that the national constitution of South Africa is fully intersex inclusive. She continues to tirelessly work towards the full emancipation of intersex people in South Africa.
“A lot of work still needs to be done on the African continent to raise awareness about intersex people, their human rights and the injustices they face as a result of bigotry, sexism, heteronormativity and stereotypical gender and sex norms. It takes a lot of courage for a person to come out and say that they are intersex and still claim their place in this world. For that, I applaud intersex activists and advocates for their courage and bravery” – says Nthabiseng Mokoena, Advocacy Coordinator at Transgender and Intersex Africa
“Non-consensual, unnecessary and uniformed intersex infant genital mutilation is a human rights violation. Parents of intersex children and medical doctors should not hold the power to impose a gender and sex on the child, this decision lies with the person not the doctors”- says Tebogo Nkoana, Director at Transgender and Intersex Africa
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