The United States affiliate of the Organization Intersex International (OII)

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Category Archives: Biomedical Ethics

U.S. Includes Intersex People in Bans on Sex Discrimination in Federal Health Care!

U.S. Includes Intersex People in Bans on Sex Discrimination in Federal Health Care!

On May 13th, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a 362-page rule on the Obamacare/Affordable Care Act’s Section 1557, the provision of the law which bans sex discrimination in health care, which included the statement: “… the prohibition on sex discrimination extends to discrimination on the basis of intersex traits or atypical sex characteristics.” This is great news as it means that discrimination against intersex Americans by federally funded health programs is illegal!

The ruling makes the U.S. the second nation that we are aware of to include  “intersex” under “sex” in a government ruling banning sex discrimination. In January, 2006, South Africa ruled that discrimination against intersex people is unfair, on a federal level, based on the grounds of sex, thanks to the work of the late, great intersex activist Sally Gross, Founder and Director of Intersex South Africa. Sally, who is featured in the excellent New Zealand documentary Intersection, became aware that the definition of sex could be amended in South Africa’s Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, which governs judicial interpretation of their Equality Clause. As Sally explained:

“Going through it, I realized that… Adding two definitions—“‘sex’ includes intersex” and “‘intersex’ means a congenital   a congenital sexual differentiation which is atypical, to whatever degree”—would make intersex part of the meaning of “sex” in the Equality Clause.”

The HHS decision to include intersex people under the Affordable Health Care Act’s policies against sex discrimination was made in response to comments issued during public hearings by the legal team at InterACT (formerly Advocates for Informed Choice), an intersex youth advocacy organization. We give big thanks to InterACT for their advocacy for equitable health care for intersex people, and to the HHS for acknowledging that discrimination against intersex people is sex discrimination!





Viloria published in Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics

Viloria published in Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics

OII-USA E.D. Hida Viloria’s essay, “Promoting Health and Social Progress by Accepting and Depathologizing Benign Intersex Traits”, has been published in the Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics fall issue, which features a Narrative Symposium on Intersex. From the NIB website’s description of the symposium: What are the joys and heartaches faced by people diagnosed intersex? These symposium authors… Continue Reading

New study confirms OII’s message: we are “Intersex”, not “DSDs”!

A recent study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology (March 16, 2015), titled, “Congenital adrenal hyperplasia patient perception of ‘disorders of sex development’ nomenclature”, found that: “71.0% disliked or strongly disliked the term DSD. 83.6% stated they did not identify with the term DSD. 76.0% felt that the term DSD has a negative… Continue Reading

Viloria on discrimination against intersex women athletes in The Advocate

We’re thrilled to to have this essay by OII-USA Director Hida Viloria run in The Advocate, although we note they changed the original title – “Bullying By Any Other Name: What’s Really Behind Regulations for Women with High Testosterone” – to, “Stop Freaking Out About Female Intersex Athletes”. The essay elaborates on the issue in… Continue Reading

Aljazeera interviews Viloria on sports policies for intersex female athletes

Aljazeera interviews Viloria on sports policies for intersex female athletes

  Our E.D. Hida Viloria is on Aljazeera’s The Stream today, speaking with scholars Payoshni Mitra, PhD, and Katrina Karkazis, PhD, author of Fixing Sex, about how sporting regulations for intersex women, specifically those with hyperandrogegism (high natural testosterone levels), are discriminatory, as witnessed in the recent case of India’s Dutee Chand. Viloria has lobbied extensively against… Continue Reading

Calling all intersex folks who underwent surgeries!

If you are an intersex person who underwent non-consensual, medically unnecessary surgery(ies) — a.ka. intersex genital mutilation/IGM — please take the time to complete this survey if you can. We desperately need statistics about the “treatments” we are subjected to. Thanks in advance! Continue Reading

Another great article questions “fixing” intersex children

We are thrilled to see more and more public attention and scrutiny of the human rights violation that intersex children are routinely subjected to, in the form of having their genitals cut without their request or consent, which we call Intersex Genital Mutialtion/IGM. Read here: Continue Reading

The Atlantic questions “fixing’ intersex children

This piece examines the practice of surgically attempting to “fix” intersex babies and minors — a.k.a. intersex genital mutiltion/IGM – and the current legal case of the rawford family, who is suing the doctors who operated on their intersex son before they adopted him, and the state of South Carolina (his legal guardians at the… Continue Reading

Council of Europe’s statement on intersex people’s need for equal rights!

In recognition of the upcoming International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17th, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights has released the statement, A boy or a girl or a person — intersex people lack recognition in Europe. The statement examines the intense difficulties and human rights abuses  — such as “normalizing”… Continue Reading

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