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“How can I get more involved in intersex activism? And what’s the best way to go about educating others in intersex issues and activism?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Claudia Astorino as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Claudia Says:

Hi there, ALLYNONYMOUS! (You’re being an excellent ally right now, so BOOM, your name!)  I thought you’d never ask.  It’s always fantastic to see folks that are interested in spreading the word that us fantastic intersex humans 1) exist and 2) deserve the right to keep all of our body parts at birth as they are. Intersex people exist globally and across races, classes, sexual orientations, gender identities, etc., so some groups of intersex people have specific needs that require individualized advocacy plans. Like pretty much any group of people, understanding intersex people and what it means to be intersex – and how to advocate for intersex people – isn’t a one-size-fits-all dealio.

OKAY, COOL, LET’S CHAT MORE IN-DEPTH NOW

The first, best thing you can do to become more involved in intersex activism is:  homework.  Now, before ya go all WOMP, WOMP on me if you’re not the homeworking-type (relevant: I’m in grad school, so ‘scuse me if I’m a little over-enthusiastic on the YES, LET’S READ *ALL THE THINGS!* front), this isn’t homework-for-a-grade, but homework-to-be-a-better-human.  This kind of homework might require as much focus as [hard thing], but it is so, so worth it.  Just think: you’ll know more about a group of people that aren’t so well understood and are discriminated against, and you’ll be equipped to help spread the news and lend a hand.  Like, how rad, right?!

Some great places to start in learning 101-level intersex basics are as follows:
Brief Allies Guide (Organization Intersex International, OII – USA chapter)

Your Beautiful Child: A Guide for Parents (same source – OII, USA chapter)

Everyone Is Gay Q’s on intersex (Claudia’s Second Opinions page)

“Claudia Is Intersex, Let’s Talk About It” (Autostraddle.com)

Fixing Sex (2007), Katrina Karkazis

Once you know about what intersex is and are pretty well-versed in intersex issues, the next best thing you can do is TALK ABOUT US.  Tell someone, “Hey I was just reading this cool article about intersex people, do you know what that means?”  On social media sites, reblog, tweet, post, or retweetpost an article on intersex issues. (While there’s been many a criticism about “hashtag activism,” social media has increasingly become a means for folks to raise awareness and get educated about important issues.  My main feeling is that it can’t hurt to fire up the ol’ Facetwitblrgrams for social change!)  Loan out your copy of Fixing Sexyou picked up at the local library to a friend.  SHARE, ENGAGE.  There are still a shocking number of folks out there who have never heard the word “intersex” before, and don’t know who we are or why intersex issues are human rights that they should care about.  Help get the word out, ALLYNONYMOUS!  Lots of stuff can get done – or at least get started – when people are informed and can put pressure on folks in charge to create social change.

Another thing you can do is attend an event on intersex issues!  You’ll get to learn about intersex people from other intersex people, and meet other interested allies like yourself.  Facetime can be a great thing – by attending one event, you might learn about others that are taking place.  Check out some event schedules at various LGBTQIA centers, student centers at colleges/universities, or organizations that are queer-friendly near you. If you don’t see any intersex events on the calendar already, you can always contact the group and ask if they’re planning to host any – or better yet, if you’re affiliated with one of these orgs yourself, help host one!

Finally, if you want to get involved more in intersex activism as a fantastic ally, contact an intersex org to see if they need any help.  A good place to start is contacting your region’s closest branch of Organization Intersex International (OII) – the largest group advocating for intersex human rights of people around the globe.

Well, ALLYNONYMOUS, I think that about covers it!  Thanks for wanting to support intersex human rights, youdabest!  <3

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