Intersex Hub




Will South Africa Become a Roadblock To International LGBT Rights?

South Africa, which was once an essential nation to advancing LGBTI rights in international diplomacy, has since become a potential roadblock, according to Huffington Post.

South africaIn 2011, South Africa sponsored a resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) that, for the first time, recognized LGBTI rights as human rights. Supporters of the resolution believed that it required at least one prominent African backer in order to prevent it playing into the hands of LGBTI rights opponents in Africa and other parts of the world.

However, when an updated version of the resolution was tabled last week at a HRC meeting, South Africa’s name was not on it. With a vote expected this week, some LGBTI rights supporters are now concerned that South Africa  could turn against the resolution.

This comes following a move by South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party to block a parliamentary motion to condemn Uganda’s severe anti-gay laws - which have since been struck down.

According to Mmapeseka Steve Letsike, a lesbian activist who chairs the South African National AIDS Council’s Civil Society Forum:

“We currently have leadership that fails to represent the ethos of what the constitution says and the equality principles they have to uphold. We have leadership going out of this country putting their personal beliefs before its own people. We have leaders that fail to protect their own.”

MandelaSome South African activists regard these decisions to move away from supporting LGBTI rights internationally as part of a larger trend in the country’s leadership.

While Nelson Mandela and other leaders of the African National Congress embraced LGBTI rights, that commitment is not as strong among the younger generation of leaders, most notably President Jacob Zuma, who called same-sex marriage “a disgrace to the nation and to God” around the time the unions won legal recognition in the country.

The resolution’s supporters are optimistic that they will have the votes to pass the resolution and nobody believes it is possible that South Africa would vote against it on the final vote. It could abstain on a final vote or vote for a procedural motion that would kill the resolution by denying an up or down vote — exactly what it did to keep the inclusive language out of the Protection of the Family resolution in June.

The lack of support for the updated HRC resolution actually comes at a time that there is a new commitment from the government to fighting anti-LGBTI hate crimes inside the country, spurred by a series of horrific rapes and murders of black lesbians.


One Year On: The United Nations LGBT Advocacy Campaign 'Free And Equal' - VIDEO

The welcome UN Human Rights LGBT campaign

On July 26th, 2013, the United Nations Human Rights office launched "Free and Equal," an unprecedented global public education campaign aiming to combat violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people around the world.

Free&equalThe campaign has included a Bollywood gay marriage video The Welcome and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

What's happened since the campaign's launch?

Watch the video to find out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Female Indian Sprinter Fails 'Gender Test', Disqualified From Commonwealth Games

Dutee Chand

Dutee Chand, representing India, was disqualified last month from the 2014 Commonwealth Games after failing a gender test, reports Bustle. The test showed that 18-year-old Chand’s testosterone levels were above the range considered “normal” for female athletes.

In 2012, Chand became the 100-meter sprint national champion in the under-18 division.

After winning two gold medals for India during the 16th Asian Junior Championship in June, Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials subjected Chand to the test which ultimately ruled her ineligible to represent the country this month in Glasgow.

Chand said that she is "completely shattered" by the result.

In a press release, SAI said:

“Preliminary investigations indicate that the athlete is not fit for participation in a female event due to female hyperandrogenism. The athlete will still be able to compete in the female category in future if she takes proper medical help and lowers her androgen level to the specified range. We reiterate that these test results do not determine her gender. The test simply tells us that she has excess androgen in her body and is therefore not eligible to compete in the female category.”

Hyperandrogenism, a medical condition in which an excessive amount of testosterone is produced by the body, is often the result of polycystic ovary syndrome and cal also manifest as a result of hyperactive adrenal glands or as the result of an intersex condition.

Bustle notes that although setting standards in sport is designed to eliminate “unfair” advantage, Chand is a woman who happens to naturally produce more testosterone than the average woman:

“If we are to believe that the advantages brought on by Chand’s naturally-produced hormones should be reason enough to disqualify her from competing against other women, where does this stop? If a women’s basketball player happens to be six inches taller than an arbitrary range of acceptable heights, should she be sent to play against men? Yes, that basketball player may be an outlier, and yes, Chand’s testosterone levels may make her an outlier, but isn’t that what professional athletes are? Isn’t that what makes watching sports so entertaining in the first place? The world’s greatest athletes aren’t average; they are outliers.

“It’s unfortunate that Chand, whose body chemistry may predispose her to athletic success, will need to take medication to curb her own gifts, and to return her to the 'normal' range. It’s unfortunate that in today’s world we have yet to realize that normal is subjective; that neither women nor men fall neatly into these arbitrarily-defined boxes of acceptable.

Writes Kalpana Sharma in The Hindu:

Our sport authorities need to be educated. Urgently. They need a crash course in understanding human biology, that there is no clear binary between male and female and that there are many conditions in-between.  But clearly, this knowledge, that has now become fairly commonplace, has failed to trickle down to those controlling Indian athletics.  They continue to believe that testing testosterone levels will conclusively establish whether a woman athlete is indeed a woman!

 So even as women athletes are bringing home medals from the Commonwealth Games, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Athletics Federation if India (AFI) will be better remembered for denying, virtually at the last minute, the chance for one of our most promising runners to compete in these games in Glasgow.


Bulgarian MEP Calls Eurovision Winner Conchita Wurst ‘Genetically Modified Organism’ - VIDEO

Lifeball_wurst

In an interview before his May election, Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Angel Dzhambazki described Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst as a “bearded creature.”

DzhambazkiIn the same interview, Dzhambazki said that recognition of the intersexed as a third gender is “absolutely an unacceptable targeting of humanity against nature.”

Speaking to One Europe, Dzhambazki said:

“A beard lady became a symbol of the Old continent a few days ago. This bearded creature, called with the European name Conchita Wurst is like genetically modified organism and won the Eurovision. And I wonder, if the vice of our time is that we tolerate the perversity. I don’t want such a song contest for my children.”

Yesterday, Dzhambazki was accepted into the Eurosceptic centre-right Conservative Party’s ECR group in the European Parliament, along with Irish MEP Brian Crowley.

Speaking to Pink News, English Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said:

“The public deserves an explanation as to why Conservative MEPs have agreed to share a platform with this divisive and hateful figure who is so out of touch with British values of tolerance and compassion. By associating themselves with such an openly racist and homophobic politician the Tories are dancing with the devil.”

Dzhambazki, a member of the Bulgaria Without Censorship party which is aligned with the Bulgarian National Movement, has also been accused of inciting hatred against immigrants, calling on the citizens of Sofia to "clean up" Bulgaria's capital city and take “self-defence actions” by establishing “volunteer patrols and units”.

Check out Conchita Wurst's winning Eurovision performance, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Intersex Children And The Battle Over Their Gender

The New Yorker recently published an article entitled "A New Era For Intersex Rights" that follows Jim Ambrose (pictured), a man who was born with ambiguous sex organs. His parents decided to surgically remove his organ and testes when he was still a newborn and began raising him as a girl named Kristi.

JimHe started taking female hormones at age 12 and planned to have a vaginoplasty at age 18, but he also felt depressed and suicidal. He didn't know why until he discovered the circumstances of his birth — he was born with a condition that inhibited his testosterone development. Gradually, he began taking testosterone, had his breasts removed and began living as Jim.

Approximately one in every 2,000 children is born intersex, that is with a "reproductive or sexual anatomy and/or chromosome pattern that doesn’t seem to fit typical definitions of male or female." These children are not necessarily transgender "as their status is not related to their gender identity" but moreso to their biological makeup.

New Yorker writer Emily Greenhouse states:

"Today, we pride ourselves on letting children defy antiquated gender stereotypes. Boys can now have dolls, and girls Erector sets; we agree that the salient differences between genders are social constructs, and give little leeway to those who insinuate that, say, women have less aptitude for science and engineering.

Yet, even as many fight against the persistence of rigid gender norms, we still separate the sexes as soon as kids are old enough to be potty-trained; when gym class arrives and locker rooms are needed, we push the boys and girls even farther apart. For all the progress that has followed from the enlightened credo that gender is but a construct, we keep hesitating at the notion that sex, too, does not obey strict binaries.

Some people aren’t just pushing away from prototypes of sinewy maleness or delicate femaleness; they were born with bodies that don’t conform to the “M” or the “F” boxes on the census form. There are children, in other words, whose genes have not defined for them which bathroom to use, or where to change for gym class; babies can be born with XX chromosomes in certain cells, and XY chromosomes in others—mosaic genetics."

Keep reading and watch a short documentary AFTER THE JUMP...

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South Carolina Sued for Choosing Gender of Intersex Foster Child, Performing Surgery: VIDEO

Crawford

A South Carolina couple is suing the state after it made the unprecedented decision to perform irreversible and unnecessary sexual-reassignment surgery on a toddler in its care who was born intersex, WSFA reports:

McMark and Pam Crawford, adoptive parents of the now 8-year-old child, spoke to the media Tuesday morning about the lawsuits filed in partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center and other advocates in federal and state courts.

The Crawfords say the child was born with intersex condition, which means a person is born with a sexual anatomy that doesn't fit the definition of a typical man or woman.

The suit alleges the South Carolina Department of Social Services decided to perform "dangerous and mutilating surgery" in April, 2006. The decision to make the 16-month old a girl took away the child's right to choose his or her sexual identity later in life, the suit states.

Named in the suit are the Department of Social Services, The Medical University of South Carolina, Greenville Health System and several other caregivers.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "South Carolina Sued for Choosing Gender of Intersex Foster Child, Performing Surgery: VIDEO" »


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