The Fourth International Intersex Forum was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands last month. The world’s largest intersex human rights forum to date was attended by 40 representatives of intersex organisations and independent advocates across all regions, including New Zealand.
During the four day event, the international community exchanged knowledge about the situation of intersex people in different regions and highlighted widespread and horrific human rights violations that still persist all over the world, such as include infanticide, intersex genital mutilation and other harmful medical practices, lack of appropriate and consented health care as well as discrimination in access to education, other services and employment. While intersex issues have become more visible and acknowledged since the Third International Intersex Forum in 2013, stigma, fear, shame and taboo unfortunately also still prevail.
The Fourth International Forum delivered a strong consensus that reaffirmed the demands expressed in the Declaration issued by the Third International Intersex Forum in Malta in 2013, and emphasised the unity of the intersex movement as a collaborative global movement, while also recognising additional unique barriers faced by intersex people in some regions.
Participants spoke about pressing global issues, amongst them a severe lack of necessary consented medical care, “There must be an end to enforcing any anatomy on people with variations of sex characteristics. We are assigned a sex at birth and the surgical and hormonal interventions aim to enforce that sex on us without taking into account our gender identity. For many intersex people, including but not limited to those with chromosomal variations like myself, this means to choose between no treatment or treatment that is against their gender identity,” says Stephanie Stine Toft, Chairperson of Intersex Denmark.
Collectively, global participants made an urgent call for more capacity and strategic funding investment in desperately needed intersex human rights work happening in every region. Miriam van der Have, Executive Director of NNID, and ILGA board member for the Intersex Secretariat, remarked on an associated discussion with donor organisations,"One of the most important outcomes of the fourth international intersex forum is that better funding for the intersex movement is necessary and possible."