September 25, 2023
Intersex Awareness Day started over 25 years ago on October 26, 1996 in Boston. That day several intersex people and their supporters publicly protested the countless, nonconsensual surgeries performed on intersex babies to make them “normal.” Being intersex doesn’t mean you’re not normal. It means a person was born with different traits, like hair or eye color. We don’t perform surgeries on babies so that they all have “normal” eye color. Why would we do the same if a baby doesn’t have typical genitalia?
What Is Intersex?
Not everyone is born with sex chromosomes or traits that adhere to the binary of either male or female. Some people are born with a visible variation in genitalia at birth, while others may lack certain internal sexual organs and not know it until they’re older (sometimes during puberty). And some people may have a variation in sex hormones or chromosomes. The umbrella term for cases like these is intersex.
There are a lot of misconceptions about people who are intersex. A lot of people think it’s a super rare condition, when actually around 1.7 percent of the world’s population is intersex. This is very close to the percentage of people in the world with red hair (2 percent), according to interACT, an organization dedicated to advocacy for children who are intersex.
Why It’s Important
Even if you’re not intersex, it’s important to know about Intersex Awareness Day. You might have a friend who’s intersex. Maybe someone close to you is afraid to tell you they’re intersex. The goal of Intersex Awareness Day is to make intersex people feel safe and accepted while educating others on what it means to be intersex and what they can do to help. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to be open, aware and supportive. Let your friends know about this day and educate them if they don’t know what intersex is. If you’re intersex, remember that nothing is wrong with you or your body.