Intersex Australia, 3 February 2016
The 2015 survey of people born with atypical sex characteristics has now been published. Here is a quick summary of some key points:
- “52% of the participants were allocated a female sex at birth, 41% male, 2% X, 2% unsure and 4% another option. Whilst most identified as female or male now, a smaller portion now identified as male compared to the portion assigned male at birth; and a greater portion now used X or another option”
- intersex is the only widespread term for atypical sex characteristics; “disorders of sex development” is markedly unpopular, used by 3% of respondents rising to 21% situationally, when accessing medical services.
- experience of medicalisation is often negative, with poor information, many poor outcomes, and “strong evidence suggesting a pattern of institutionalised shaming and coercive treatment”.
- rates of suicidality far exceed the average for Australia.
- education experiences are impacted by bullying and medical treatment that is coincident with puberty, with high rates of early school leaving.
- there are high rates of poverty: the majority of participants (63%) earned an income under AU$41K per year, 41% earn less than AU$20k per year. (The minimum wage during the survey period was AU$34,158.)
- 48% of respondents were heterosexual, 10% asexual; a third of people use multiple labels to define their sexuality. A minority of participants identify as transgender.
- peer and social support is really important.
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