National Intersex Meeting –
From medical to social issues,
government must act
By Kellyn Botha
South Africa, 13 December 2017
Monday, 11 December saw an historic discussion on the promotion and preservation of human rights for intersex persons in South Africa. The National Intersex Meeting, organised in collaboration with Intersex South Africa (ISSA), the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD), and the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR), saw discussion between activists, government representatives, as well as legal and medical professionals, and is thought to be the first of its kind in the country.
Intersex rights activists from across Southern, East and West Africa met in November in Johannesburg to host the first regional intersex meeting. This convening was funded by the Intersex Human Rights Fund and co-ordinated by Iranti, ISSA and SIPID. This much needed platform provided a space for discussions and network building opportunities rarely afforded to intersex human rights activists on the continent. Often, intersex issues are coupled with transgender topics of discussion or even the broader LGBTIQ+ struggle for equality, but intersex persons face many unique challenges often ignored in mainstream LGBT spaces.
The regional meeting gave delegates the space to share their lived experiences and open up about their goals and the struggles they face, and get input from a number of experts on matters such as funding and organizing, advocacy strategy planning, handling difficult media and mental health and wellness. The regional meeting crafted a statement which lays out their commitment to effect change and to strengthen the movement.
Delegates left with a stronger sense of community and renewed vigour, making clear that overlooking intersex issues, and overlooking the long underfunded and underrepresented African continent, would no longer be tolerated.
11 December 2017
National Intersex Meeting Announcement
On Monday 11 December 2017 Iranti, in partnership with Intersex South Africa (ISSA), the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ), will host a National Engagement on the Promotion and Protection of the Human Rights of intersex persons. Read the full press release here.
Ground-Breaking African Intersex Meeting hosted by the International Intersex Human Rights Fund
by Joshua Sehoole
Johannesburg, 2 December 2017
In the last few years four international intersex fora were organized enabling organizations and activists in the global intersex movement to engage with one another, develop collaborative actions, and build a common platform. In addition, increasing collaborative action has also helped to promote awareness and recognition of intersex issues.
Recognizing the unequal representation of intersex people from the Global South, intersex activists identified the need to create spaces within regions with the goals to increase individual and organizational capacity needed to identify specific regional needs, address human rights violations against intersex persons and develop regional strategies. In this regard, Iranti was approached to be the logistical host for an intersex-led, African regional intersex meeting.
A planning team led by intersex people from the region developed and delivered the Meeting’s programme. Through the Intersex Human Rights Fund, the Astraea Foundation for Justice provided financial and organizing support for the meeting, which took place between 24 and 26 November 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The meeting, attended by 22 intersex delegates from 7 countries across East, West and Southern Africa, saw activists share information and lived experiences with one another, and gain knowledge from a range of experts on topics such as organising, advocacy through media, funding, dealing with oppression, lack of support, and mental wellbeing.
By the end of the engagement, delegates had formulated a comprehensive statement recalling the principles of the Malta declaration, and making strong demands to the state and different sectors of society around intersex human rights on the African continent.
Ruth Baldacchino from Astraea facilitated a session on the state of intersex organising within the funding sector. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Gabrielle Hoosain Khan spoke on engaging with donors on how to connect with donors and fundraise for intersex rights projects. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Gabrielle Hoosain Khan presented on the scale of the donor funding that goes to the LGBTI work led projects, explaining that such projects are often severely underfunded, particularly in the “global south”. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Kaggwa Julius Kaganzi, a veteran activist for intersex human rights, spoke about the importance of funding and preserving intersex led work throughout the meeting, leading and facilitating numerous discussions. Photo by: Kellyn Botha
Busi Dhlamini session was on the importance of working through internalised oppression and recognising the difficulties and advantages of the spaces we each occupy in society. Photo by: Kellyn Botha
Participants partook in groupwork on identifying and overcoming social challenges and finding outcomes to solve intersex-specific issues. Photo by: Kellyn Botha
Tebogo Makwati from Kimberly spoke about challenges they face in the community as an intersex person. Photo by Kellyn Botha
ICD video on intersex issues screened during the Regional Intersex Meeting, 2017, providing visitors some context to the activism work that is already being done. Photo by: Kellyn Botha