Sunday, October 24, 2010

Intersex Awareness Events in NYC THIS WEEK!

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. em. gee.

This summer has been absolutley amazing, and amazingly crazy. Despite it being well into October, I am STILL having some difficulty adjusting to my "normal" day-to-day life after working outside the US for a few months. Part of this is, no doubt, because of some new, exciting activist ventures I'm taking on, but that is something about which I am absolutely not complaining. ;D

Intersex Awareness Day, as I had posted in the previous post, is officially Oct 26, but intersex awareness events often take place on other days in October. In this spirit, we've got 2 events in NYC to help raise awareness about intersex:

Intersex Film and Q&A - NYU's Kimmel Center Rm 804 - Oct 26, Tues, 7pm
In conjunction with the NYU Office of LGBT Student Services's Reel Queer Film Series, a showing of the film One in 2,000 will be followed by discussion and Q&A with intersex activists Hida Vilora, Tricia Madison, and myself about both the film and intersex in general with audience participants.

Intersex Awareness Presentation and Q&A - Bluestockings Activist Center - Oct 27, Wed, 7pm
Hida Viloria, Tricia Madison, and myself are back again! This time, we will each give short presentations on issues related to intersex, including what intersex is, its perception in Western culture, human rights abuses committed against intersex individuals and why they need to stop, and recent events surrounding intersex in the media. Discussion and Q&A with audience participants will follow the presentations.

Much love and thanks to all of the folks at the NYU Office of the LGBT Student Services and Bluestockings that helped work so hard to make event this happen. Your time and efforts are seriously appreciated. <3

If you are able to support these events, we would love to have you. If you can't make them, no worries - I want to help coordinate more events like these in the future.

In this vein, it seems to me in my totally informal, un-scientific observations, that there is less activist work focused on intersex on the US's east coast and middle than the west coast. This is a problem. I think it's really important that work is not being done in not just a few centralized places, but in a lot of different areas. This means that if there's something you want in your community that you're not seeing, DIY - do it yourself! A few people can get together and accomplish quite a lot to create spaces and events that reflect what they want and currently aren't getting from their communities. While this event will hopefully open some minds and raise some voices protesting the medicalization and abuse of intersex individuals, I know that this event alone is not going to be the panacea that changes everything. Lots of awareness-raising work must be done in many, many places over time. Only if we put our selves and skills into this really important work will we have a real chance to generate lasting change.

So, organize your own event. Create your own semi-profane blog, zine, book, magazine, chapbook - whatever! - with accurate information and/or your lived experiences. (Okay, fine. FFA:IAA is totally profane, not semi-profane. We're cuss-positive here!) Hand out pamphlets with intersex basics. Protest stigmatizing conferences. Do presentations and Q&As at schools, universities, medical schools, and other institutions to educate and generate discussion about intersex. Demand long-term outcome studies on intersex individuals' physical and psychological health be done to assess whether the medical institution's "care" is meeting its goals, and whether such care is necessary at all. There's so much that can be done. Our collective efforts will hopefully change how intersex is perceived in our society. And if this grassroots change in each of our own communities can be translated into greater societal change, then sufficient pressure may be generated to prevent future intersex individuals from the same trauma, shame, stigma, and pain that intersex individuals being born today are still facing. And I can't believe that this isn't worth fighting for. <3