26th of October: Intersex Awareness Day

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.

Do you have questions regarding intersex? Get in touch with Intersekse Vlaanderen if you’re Flemish, or go to Interact Advocates For Intersex Youth to find the right link for your country.

Text: Jilke Tielemans, photo: © Sharon McCutcheon via Pexels