Saturday, October 26, 2013

Happy International Intersex Solidarity Day!

Today, we celebrate intersex people by remembering our past - specifically, by honoring the life of Herculine de Barbin, a 19th c French intersex person, who tragically committed suicide following the discovery of her intersex status and subsequent court trial (yes, court trial) to determine whether she was "really" a man or a woman.

You can learn more about the life of Herculine Barbin by reading her published diary (with a foreward by Michel Focault), available on Amazon. Keeping with the time in which it was written, there is a lot of stigmatization and sensationalization surrounding Herculine's thoughts on her own body, and her attempts to conceal these secrets from those around her - experiences that are, unfortunately, still extremely common today. In Focault's foreward, as well as the yucky afterward - where medical professionals speculate as to her "medical condition" and "true" sex in excerpts from her medical documents - are also intersexphobic in terms of the language used and how intersex is conceptualized (i.e., as a medical problem). However, it's important to understand intersex people and history from other intersex people; the fact that a first-hand account of what it meant to be intersex in the 1800's is valuable an important. It's definitely worth giving Barbin's book a read.

Happy international intersex solidarity day! May we recognize that intersex people exist, that there's nothing wrong with our bodies as they naturally are, and understand the consequences of how societal discrimination affects (and ends) intersex peoples' lives.

Vive les personnes intersexuées! (Long live intersex people!)

Intersex Activist Event!: The Pratt Institute on Nov 7th!

Hi, everyone! I'm excited to announce I'll be raising awareness about intersex issues at The Pratt Institute on Nov 7th! Details are below.

Where: The Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY), Student Union
When: Nov 7th, 8pm
Event Description: Intersex individuals are those whose bodies have a mix body characteristics traditionally considered “male” or “female.” Clinicians often attempt to cosmetically “fix” intersex childrens' bodies through a variety of medical procedures that they cannot give consent to, even though intersex bodies are healthy and beautiful as they naturally are. Join intersex activist Claudia Astorino to explore intersex issues in an engaging workshop – what intersex is, why intersex is considered to be such a controversial issue, and why intersex genital surgeries (and other unnecessary treatments) need to end. Discussion encouraged, with Q&A to follow!

Link to the Facebook event page is here. Hope to see you there! :)

Happy Intersex Awareness Day!

Intersex people are fantastic, and this day (along with International Intersex Solidarity Day, on Nov 8th) celebrates us and our bodies as they naturally are.

Intersex Awareness Day (IAD) is celebrated on Oct 26th to commemorate the day of the first public protest in the United States against intersex medical "treatments," in 1996.

OII-USA is making available two updated documents made to raise awareness about intersex people - a brief handbook for intersex allies, and a document for new parents of children with atypical sex anatomy. You can access them both here! (Links are at the bottom of the post.)

Tell someone, "Happy Intersex Awareness Day!" and maybe start a conversation about intersex, or link to/reblog our OII-USA documents on a social media site today. Let others know this is an important day worth celebrating!

And have a happy intersex awareness day, yourself! :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

4th Annual NYC Intersex Awareness Day: Events This Week!

Hi, everyone! With Intersex Awareness Day (Oct 26th) right around the corner, we've got two fantastic events in NYC this year to raise awareness about what intersex is, why intersex issues are human rights issues, and what intersexphobia is and how to stop it.

Join Claudia Astorino at Bluestockings Bookstore on Wednesday at 7pm

Join Claudia and Hida Viloria at NYU's Kimmel Center (Rm 916) on Thursday at 7pm

Hope to see you there! :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

ILGA-Europe Adopts "Childrens' Right to Physical Integrity" Resolution

The European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe) has adopted a new resolution called, "Childrens' right to physical integrity." This resolution states that many forms of culturally or individually accepted physical modification of children is not acceptable, including female genital mutilation, religion-based circumcision, and other coerced body modification (e.g., piercings, tattoos, plastic surgery). Importantly, the cosmetic medical procedures intersex people are subjected to without their consent are included in the resolution.

ILGA-Europe has worked together with the European chapter of Organization Intersex International (OII-Europe) to make this resolution intersex-inclusive, and highlight the need to protect intersex childrens' basic bodily autonomy. Under this resolution, European countries must "...undertake further research to increase knowledge about the specific situation of intersex people, ensure that no-one is subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment that is cosmetic rather than vital for health during infancy or childhood, guarantee bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination to persons concerned, and provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support.”

This is another big step forward for intersex rights. Fantastic job, ILGA-Europe and OII-Europe!