MindOUT Webinar: Intersex Rights: Addressing harmful practices and rhetoric of change

Network MindOUT

In the most recent issue of “Reproductive Health Matters” Journal Morgan Carpenter wrote a piece entitled Intersex Human Rights: addressing harmful practices and rhetoric of change

Intersex people and bodies have been considered incapable of integration into society. Medical interventions on often healthy bodies remain the norm, addressing perceived familial and cultural demands, despite concerns about necessity, outcomes, conduct and consent.

A global and decentralised intersex movement pursues simple core goals: the rights to bodily autonomy and self-determination, and an end to stigmatisation. The international human rights system is responding with an array of new policy statements from human rights institutions and a handful of national governments recognising the rights of intersex people. However, major challenges remain to implement those statements.

Human rights violations of intersex individuals persist, deeply embedded in a deliberate history of silencing. Rhetoric of change to clinical practices remain unsubstantiated. Policy disjunctions arise in a framing of intersex issues as matters of sexual orientation and gender identity, rather than innate sex characteristics; this has led to a rhetoric of inclusion that is not matched by the reality.

This webinar provides an overview of harmful practices on intersex bodies, human rights developments, and rhetorics of change and inclusion.

Morgan Carpenter is an advocate and consultant on bodily diversity issues, and a social and technology policy researcher. Morgan is founder of an international Intersex Day project, and co-chair of national intersex organisation OII Australia. Morgan has played an active role in systemic advocacy on federal anti-discrimination legislation and a Senate committee inquiry into involuntary or coerced sterilisation. Morgan has qualifications from Coventry and Dublin City University, a Masters in IT from the University of Technology, Sydney, and is currently taking a Master of Bioethics program at the University of Sydney Medical School.


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