Intersex Peer Support Australia launches

Intersex Peer Support Australia (IPSA), 25th October 2019

On the eve of Intersex Awareness Day, an internationally observed awareness day designed to highlight human rights issues faced by intersex people, and observed on 26 October each year, one of the oldest intersex groups in the world is launching a new name, branding and website.

Intersex Peer Support Australia (IPSA) will carry on the important work of the 1985-founded Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia (AISSGA), which for more than three decades has been dedicated to assisting people born with variations in sex characteristics and their families, providing Australia-wide peer support, information and advocacy.

Elise Nyhuis, President of IPSA said, “The new identity will make us more visible to government agencies and support funders, and is more inclusive of the more than 40 known intersex variations, our diverse community and their families.”

“Our organisation advocates for and provides peer support to its members and the wider intersex community, focusing on the lived experience of having intersex bodies that physically differ from stereotypical, medical notions of male and female.

“The intersex community in Australia is strong and growing as people come out of hiding to stand together in the face of continued challenges from medicalisation, stigma and discrimination, shame, mental health issues, social inclusion, access to affirmative healthcare, parenting and human rights protection from medically unnecessary medical interventions on intersex children.

“Beyond our core work of providing intersex peer support, IPSA advocates for intersex issues through educating service providers, liaising with medical professionals, conducting policy review and consulting with government and NGOs, as well as by building community through coordinating opportunities and events for people with intersex variations to meet and share knowledge and experiences.

“The updated IPSA website will be a great resource for the whole community to learn more about the ‘I’ in the LGBTIQ acronym, while our membership will have access to a range of online extras through password-secured access,” said Elise.

What’s the point of sex? It frames gender expression and identity – or does it?

The Conversation, January 18, 2017 6.05am AEDT

The act of penetrative sex has evolved over millions of years as a mechanism to deliver sperm to eggs and initiate pregnancy. But there’s more to sex than just the meeting of two sets of genes. The ‘What’s the point of sex?’ series examines biological, physical and social aspects of sex and gender.

[This] piece looks at sexual identity and gender, and how these are expressed in a social context.

‘We don’t know if your baby’s a boy or a girl’: growing up intersex

Guardian, Saturday 2 July 2016

Jack was born with both male and female anatomy, with ovarian and testicular tissue, and genitals that could belong to either a boy or a girl. He has one of at least 40 congenital variations, known collectively as disorders of sexual development (DSD), or intersex traits. It was months before Juliet and her husband, Will, were told Jack’s specific diagnosis, of mixed gonadal dysgenesis. While they waited, all his parents knew was that Jack’s sex couldn’t be determined at birth, and that their doctors needed time to assign it.

Jack’s specific diagnosis is rare, but being born with a blend of female and male characteristics is surprisingly common: worldwide, up to 1.7% of people have intersex traits, roughly the same proportion of the population who have red hair, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Read more here

‘Gay genes’: science is on the right track, we’re born this way. Let’s deal with it.

Biological sex redefined

Nature, 18 February 2015

According to the simple scenario, the presence or absence of a Y chromosome is what counts: with it, you are male, and without it, you are female. But doctors have long known that some people straddle the boundary — their sex chromosomes say one thing, but their gonads (ovaries or testes) or sexual anatomy say another.

Read more here