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Intersex human rights

Human rights for intersex people / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Intersex people are born with sex characteristics, such as chromosomes, gonads, or genitals, that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies."[1]

Participants at the third International Intersex Forum, Malta, in December 2013

Intersex people face stigmatisation and discrimination from birth, particularly when an intersex variation is visible. In some countries this may include infanticide, abandonment and the stigmatization of families. Mothers in East Africa may be accused of witchcraft, and the birth of an intersex child may be described as a curse.[2][3][4]

Intersex infants and children, such as those with ambiguous outer genitalia, may be surgically and/or hormonally altered to fit perceived more socially acceptable sex characteristics. However, this is considered controversial, with no firm evidence of good outcomes.[5] Such treatments may involve sterilization. Adults, including elite female athletes, have also been subjects of such treatment.[6][7] These issues are recognized as human rights abuses, with statements from UN agencies,[8][9] the Australian parliament,[10] and German and Swiss ethics institutions.[11] Intersex organizations have also issued joint statements over several years, including the Malta declaration by the third International Intersex Forum.

Implementation of human rights protections in legislation and regulation has progressed more slowly. In 2011, Christiane Völling won the first successful case brought against a surgeon for non-consensual surgical intervention.[12] In 2015, the Council of Europe recognized for the first time a right for intersex persons to not undergo sex assignment treatment.[13] In April 2015, Malta became the first country to outlaw nonconsensual medical interventions to modify sex anatomy, including that of intersex people.[14][15]

Other human rights and legal issues include the right to life, protection from discrimination, standing to file in law and compensation, access to information, and legal recognition.[13][16] Few countries so far protect intersex people from discrimination.[13][16]

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