Welcome and introduction

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What is intersex?

THE term intersex was adopted by science in the early 20th century and applied to human beings whose biological sex cannot be classified as clearly male or female. An intersex person may have the biological attributes of both sexes or lack some of the biological attributes considered necessary to be defined as one or the other sex.

Intersex is always congenital and can originate from genetic, chromosomal or hormonal variations. Environmental influences such as endocrine disruptors can also play a role in some intersex differences. The term is not applicable to situations where individuals deliberately alter their own anatomical characteristics.

Intersex people represent a significant percentage of the global population, from 1 in 1,500 to around 1.7%.

About OII

THE Organisation Internationale des Intersexués – OII – is a decentralized global network of intersex organizations.

OII was founded in 2003 by and for intersex people, by Intersex American Curtis Hinkle. The first international intersex advocacy organization, OII has affiliates in twenty countries, on six continents, speaking ten languages including Mandarin, Chinese, Spanish, German, French and Arabic.

OII’s Mission is to attain human rights for intersex infants, children, and adults, particularly the right to bodily integrity and self-determination.

OII rejects the medicalized labels of disorder, such as Disorders of Sex Development (or DSD) — which was imposed on intersex people in 2006 by the medical community to describe intersex people — because it is stigmatizing and facilitates nonconsensual medical and psychiatric practices. We also reject  the recent inclusion of intersex variations, under the language of DSD, in the American Psychiatric Association’s statistical manual, the DSM-V.

Although intersex is not a sexual orientation, we are in alliance with all LGBTQIA people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities as we recognize that intersex people are discriminated against due to our non-adherence to sex and gender norms.  The ethos of the Organisation Intersex International is that intersex people will hold different views as appropriate to the individual, and that all these views should be respected.