Intersex Advocates Pull No Punches in Historic Statement

Intersex advocates in Australia and New Zealand have come together to declare their community’s priorities for the future in a powerful statement.

Over two days in Darlington, Sydney more than 20 advocates worked together at a retreat to create the ‘Darlington Statement‘.

The statement identifies key priorities for intersex people. Some of these include; legal reform to recognise bodily autonomy, effective rights-based oversight of clinical decisions, alongside access to affirmative health care and the importance of peer support.

About 1.7% of the population is born with intersex characteristics that are more diverse than stereotypical definitions for male or female bodies. That’s about the same number of the population born with red hair.

‘The coming together of so many different intersex people from around Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand is cause for celebration in and of itself,’ said Bonnie Hart, president of AIS Support Group Australia (AISSGA).

‘However the penning of the Darlington Statement has made this intersex community retreat absolutely historic.

‘By transparently outlining our common direction, the Darlington Statement has galvanised our community and the intersex movement generally.

‘I feel so honoured to have been exposed to such insight and resilience and urge governments, health and social services to hear our voice and implement our demands.’

The Statement contains calls to actions for governments, clinical institutions, the LGBTI community and other allies.

‘I am incredibly proud of the strength of our diverse intersex community coming together and developing a unified statement that addresses intersex issues so comprehensively and clearly,’ said Tony Briffa, co-executive director of OII Australia (Organisation Intersex International Australia).

‘This statement will be the basis of much of our work over the coming years, and we hope it is disseminated, read, quoted and even implemented by governments and organisations everywhere.

‘The intersex movement in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand has come of age and will no longer tolerate being silenced.’

The Darlington Statement

  • We recognise the diversity of our sex characteristics and bodies, our identities, sexes, genders, and lived experiences. We also acknowledge intersectionalities with other populations, including same-sex attracted people, trans and gender diverse people, people with disabilities.
  • We call for the immediate prohibition as a criminal act of deferrable medical interventions, including surgical and hormonal interventions, that alter the sex characteristics of infants and children without personal consent. We call for freely-given and fully informed consent by individuals, with individuals and families having mandatory independent access to funded counselling and peer support.”
  • We call on governments and institutions to acknowledge and apologise for the treatment of people born with variations of sex characteristics, and provide redress and reparation for people born with variations of sex characteristics who have experienced involuntary or coercive medical interventions.”
  • Our peer support organisations and other peer communities need resourcing and support to build communities and networks inclusive of all intersex people. No intersex person or parent of an intersex child should feel they are alone, irrespective of their bodily variation or the language they use.”

Read the full Darlington Statement here.