London Olympics Head of Diversity & Inclusion includes intersex while Equality Minister excludes intersex people

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WHEN LGBT online publication Gay Star News recently published an article quoting Stephen Frost, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Olympics organization LOCOG speaking about the LGBTI community, we thought the journalist’s fingers had slipped on the keyboard. After all, neither GSN, LOCOG nor the British government has been seen fit to equally include intersex people in their work in the past. 

Gay Star News: London 2012 Olympic bosses celebrate with diversity day - click to read this article.

Before coming to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Mr Frost was formerly “public affairs director for Stonewall, Britain’s leading lesbian, gay and bisexual campaign group”. Stonewall UK is not known for its intersex and trans inclusion. It is an L, G and B organization only.

Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity: screenshot showing search results using search term intersex, March 11, 2012.

The only mentions of the word intersex on the Stonewall UK website are citations from documents published by ILGA – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association of which some OII affiliates are members – as well as UK government LGBTI staff support agency a:gender.

Screenshot of search results using the term intersex at London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) website, March 11, 2012.

Stonewall UK appears to pass on its intersex exclusion through its foreign consultancy work. Australia’s Pride in Diversity LGBT-only workplace diversity and inclusion NGO has cited its partner Stonewall UK’s intersex non-inclusion as a factor in its own attitude to intersex.

Despite that background, Stephen Frost seems to have grown beyond his recent past and is now using the intersex-inclusive acronym LGBTI. That is only fit and proper. Intersex athletes have been persecuted for being born intersex long before the Caster Semenya incident, in fact, decades before then. Despite that rather easily researched information, the British government has chosen to exclude intersex athletes from its Sports Charter for “LGB&T” people.

We wonder what might occur should Caster Semenya or athletes publicly known to be intersex appear in London for the 2012 Olympics. They will have no legal protections of any kind and no human rights. They may be permitted entrance to LGBT-only Pride House London – a staff member at Pride House has unofficially told us that intersex athletes are welcome but nothing is said about intersex athletes in the Pride House London website itself.

We assume that Stephen Frost will welcome intersex athletes on equal terms with other competitors in the Games. But as to Lynne Featherstone, Minister for Equalities in a UK government that resolutely refuses to officially acknowledge that intersex people even exist, or that they need equality and human rights at all, will she refuse to recognize intersex athletes exist even if one might be standing in front of her?

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