This section will provide useful resources for social workers. The vast majority of social care professionals who took part in the BRING-IN project’s focus groups had never provided support services to an intersex person and/or a close family member of an intersex person (for issues related to the intersex status of their family member) during their career. In the case of Greece, Hungary and the UK, none of the persons interviewed had such an experience. However, interviewees in the UK pointed out that they might have provided support services to intersex people, but intersex people might not have wanted to disclose their intersex status or were not aware that they were intersex. None of the social workers who participated in the qualitative research had ever had training on intersex issues. On the positive side, they were interested to increase their knowledge on the topic. 

We recommend that social workers familiarize themselves with the resources aimed at the parents of intersex children. The videos below are extremely useful for intersex people and their parents, as well as for getting acquainted with the problems that intersex people face. Intersex people who have undergone surgery often develop post-traumatic stress as well as a lack of sense of bodily autonomy. Intersex children and adolescents, as a result of the experience, are easy prey for abusers. They are often trained not to talk about their experiences and traumas, and as a result, they do not share cases of sexual violence. Life-related decisions: Never bring together parents who have already operated on their children and those who have decided not to. Often meeting such a meeting becomes a traumatic experience both for yourself and for the parents of intersex children.

“Intersex” refers to people who are born with any of a range of characteristics that may not fit traditional conceptions about male or female bodies.

 

Picture of Rinio Simeonidou

 Rinio Simeonidou: “We knew – like most people already are taught at school – we knew that babies are coming to the world in just two “versions”. Babies are born boys and girls. Boys with XY chromosomal features, or girls with XX chromosomes.”

 (Intersex Human Rights Rinio Simeonidou @TEDxLesvos)

 

 

The “normalisation” of intersex bodies and “othering” of intersex identities

In 2015, a UN factsheet named Australia and Malta as countries that have made demonstrable progress in recognising the human rights of intersex people. Australia had held the first Parliamentary inquiry on involuntary or coerced medical interventions, and also added an attribute of ‘intersex status’ to federal anti-discrimination law. Australia also implemented a federal third-sex classification, and laid claim in 2017 to ‘some of the most advanced laws in the world, including on intersex status’. Yet the report of the Parliamentary inquiry has not been implemented and so-called medical ‘normalisation’ of intersex bodies continues with the imprimatur of the Family Court of Australia. In contrast, Malta had enacted legal protections for the bodily autonomy of infants and children.

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