Today is International Intersex Awareness Day, or the day we create awareness for the I in LGBTQIA+. Individuals who are intersex are born with both male and female physical characteristics. An estimated 1,7% is born with this medical condition.
There is still a lot of shame included in being intersex. Most parents of intersex children get the advice to ‘fix it’, meaning that the baby will have a surgery to have all the physical characteristics of a girl or a boy. There is more discussion about whether it is ethical or necessary, since the baby obviously hasn’t got any control. Hanne Gaby Odiele, a Belgian model from Kortrijk, is intersex. She doesn’t mind having this medical condition, but she’s not happy with the surgeries being imposed on parents.
It’s also a misconception that intersex is a sexuality instead of a medical condition. Intersex characteristics are purely physical. Although intersex belongs to the LGBTQIA+ community, their sexuality isn’t specifically labeled.
Text: Jilke Tielemans, photo: © Sharon McCutcheon via Pexels