“Hey there – so I’ve heard that there’s a thing called Intersex Awareness Day that’s happening. I’ve heard about intersex people so I know what that means, but I didn’t know that Intersex Awareness Day was a thing. What is it and how can I help celebrate it? thx!”
-Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Claudia Astorino as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions
Hey, there, Anonymous! This is a great, timely question, since Intersex Awareness Day (lovingly acronym-ed IAD) is upon us, today on Oct 26th! It’s worth noting that IAD is actually just one of TWO days that 1) celebrate intersex people and 2) raise awareness about intersex human rights issues. Let’s talk about them!
IAD is celebrated on Oct 26th because this marks the day of the first public protest of the medically unnecessary, cosmetic procedures that are still today routinely performed on intersex kids without their consent. The protest took place in Boston, MA, outside a conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and it was led by the now-defunct organization Intersex Society of North America and their supporters from the group Transexual Menace. The protesters wore shirts and carrying signs proudly emblazoned “Hermaphrodites With Attitude.” Just look at this image below—I mean, #swoon! The power of this image makes me feel huge things in my chest and tears springing into my eyes. This protest is one of several events that clearly marks the beginnings of intersex activism in the United States nearly two decades ago in 1996. This start date is also significant in that it shows how much younger a movement the fight for intersex human rights is than other LGBTQIA and civil rights movements. We might still be the new activists on the block, but we’ve got the attitude to keep on keepin’ on raising awareness!
While North America primarily celebrates IAD, many countries instead or additionally observe International Intersex Solidarity Day (also called International Intersex Day of Remembrance) on Nov 8th, the birthday of Herculine Barbin, a French person with intersex traits. Barbin’s posthumously-published diary is the earliest known record of intersex lived experience written by an intersex person.
So how can you celebrate Intersex Awareness Day & Intersex Solidarity Day? I’M GLAD YOU ASKED—there are so many ways! If you want to see if there are any intersex events being held near you, you can use the “Intersex Day” online hub, created by Morgan Carpenter. You can also participate online with the Intersex Awareness Day Twitterstorm, in which intersex folks will be raising awareness with the hashtag #IntersexStories. Give this campaign, created by Pidgeon Pagonis, an even bigger signal boost by donating to the “Intersex Stories NOT Surgeries” Thunderclap event—if it makes its goal, Thunderclap will help our #IntersexStories reach others further and faster. This campaign has only a few days left, so hop to it if you’re so inclined!
Aside from attending an event and participating in the Twitterstorm, the best thing you can do is simply to TALK ABOUT INTERSEX and SHARE CONTENT BY INTERSEX PEOPLE with others. Have you read or watched a great piece about intersex lately? Then tell a friend, start a convo, and/or post about it on social media! There are so many great resources and activists out there. Check ‘em out and share with others!
Well, Awarenessmous, I hope you feel prepped and PUMPED for all of the fab IAD and ISD events coming up! See you on the 26th / 8th! #everyoneisintersex
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