This page details some of the general differences between the experience of trans and intersex individuals in Australia.
Intersex is not a part of the trans umbrella (such as transgender or transsexual) nor is intersex a form gender diversity, because intersex is not about gender, or transition. Intersex is about bodies; about congenital physical differences in sex characteristics.
Intersex, transgender, and same sex attraction are distinct concepts and issues, and people with intersex variations face distinct health and human rights issues.
We recognise that some people with intersex variations change sex classification, and that some identify with the trans community – including members and directors of OII Australia. This is no more or less remarkable than when intersex or trans people are lesbian or gay. All LGBT and I populations overlap – but this means we have to recognise also that many intersex people are heterosexual and identify with legal sex assigned at birth.
A particular difficulty faced by many intersex people who transition is that we may have had involuntary and irreversible medical treatment to make our bodies appear more like our incorrect assigned sex, thus, much of the right hand column applies.
The medical model for the treatment of people with intersex variations means that the intersex movement also has much in common with the disability movement.
We believe that intersex people, and intersex-led organisations, must be centred in work on intersex issues.
Stories of being both
These articles were written by people who are both intersex and transgender, about the exerience of being both:
- Mauro Cabral: A Message from Mauro Cabral, 26 October 2016.
- Catherine Graffam: The Rift Between Us — Intersex and Trans Discourse, 18 November 2015.
- Mauro Cabral: The marks on our bodies, 25 October 2015.
- Cary Gabriel Costello: Are Trans Communities Losing Intersex Allies in the TERF Wars?, 14 September 2014.
- Raven Kaldera: Dangerous Intersections: Intersex and Transgender Differences, undated.
More on intersectionalities by OII Australia
More reading on intersectionalities between being intersex and transgender, by OII Australia:
- Sexuality, sex and gender diversity? the risks associated with new terminology like “sexuality, sex and gender diversity”.
- “ISGD” and the appropriation of intersex.
- High Court recognises “non-specific” gender identity, implications for intersex people.
- Discussion paper on “sex and gender diverse” terminology – a call to end use of that term.
- Intersex, brain differences, and the transgender tipping point
This page is not intended as an introduction to intersex. Introductory information, and reading on related issues:
- Demographic information on intersex people
- We recommend our Intersex for allies leaflet as an introduction to intersex
- On intersectionalities with gay and lesbian communities
- On intersectionalities with disability.
- Submission on the ethics of genetic selection against intersex traits
- Statement on the Senate report ‘Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia’
- Defining intersex: Australian and international definitions.
- All FAQs listed – a curated list of key articles on the OII Australia site.
This article was originally written for the Camp Betty Intersex 101 workshop, and has since been updated including to reflect legislative and regulatory changes.