Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW

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Intersex on the Agenda

Published: 3 Feb 2016

Intersex people experience discrimination, stigma, humiliation and even violence on a scale most of us would find hard to imagine. A survey has just been published, which provides some startling insights and hard data on the realities of life for a person born intersex.  
  
graphics in purple and yellow  intersex
Members of the ADB’s Intersex and Gender Consultation met on Wednesday evening (3rd February, 2016) to discuss current issues affecting our intersex communities. The Council is one of several such bodies who meet regularly with the Board to share information and advice on matters of concern. Council member Morgan Carpenter referred the meeting to a new publication “Intersex: Stories and Statistics from Australia”. 

The survey of 272 Australians was the first to investigate a broad range of issues from how people see their own bodies, to experiences of health, education and employment. Morgan, one of the authors, along with Tiffany Jones from the University of New England and others, said that the study revealed “strong evidence of a pattern of institutionalised shaming” of intersex people. 

Some key findings were:

  • Suicide rates far exceeding the average for Australia (60% had thought about suicide and 19% had attempted it)
  • Early school leaving as a result of bullying and medical treatment coincident with puberty
  • Medical treatment -genital surgeries or hormone treatment- about which they received little or no information, to which they didn’t consent and which had negative impacts, some of them life threatening, for the majority of participants    
  • Poverty – 63% of participants earned less than $41,000 a year and 41% earned less than $20,000 (the minimum wage in Australia at the time was $34, 158)
  • Discrimination – 66% of participants reported discrimination because of their intersex variation from strangers.

The book is available as a free PDF download with options to purchase e-book, hardback and paperback versions. 

​​Intersex: Stories and Statistics from Australia​​ by Tiffany Jones, Bonnie Hart, Morgan Carpenter, Gavi Ansara, William Leonard and Jayne Lucke   

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