A Turning point for Intersex People


HRC Intersex ReportOn the 12th May 2015 a report was released by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) regarding the rights of intersex people.

“The rights of intersex people have been largely overlooked by policy makers and legislators across the EU over the years. FRA’s work points to some of the urgent challenges that need addressing to break down the discriminatory barriers that persist and to alleviate the unnecessary suffering from medical intervention.”

Intersex is a collective term for many natural variations in sex characteristics. In many countries around the world it has been common practice to perform sex “normalising” procedures so that these people can be issued a birth certificate with either male or female to fit into the binary view. The problem with this approach is that only the individual can say what is normal for themselves and must be allowed the time and freedom to find their true selves.

These are some of the key facts from the report:

  • Many member states legally require births to be certified and registered as either male or female
  • In at least 21 member states sex “normalising” surgery is carried out on intersex children
  • In eight member states a legal representative can consent to medical intervention independently of the child’s ability to decide
  • 18 member states require patient consent provided the child has the ability to decide

The report goes on to state that these sex “normalising” procedures are in violation of the individuals fundamental rights to self determination and the registration of male or female on a birth certificate is a gateway to discrimination.

Currently at least four member states allow birth certificates to be issued as sex neutral and two allow the birth certificate to be issued without a sex identifier. The report cites these as examples of how gender markers could be reviewed to better protect intersex people.

The FRA goes on to recommend that member states should avoid non-consensual medical procedures for intersex people as such procedures are viewed by international law as inhumane, cruel and degrading.

It is my hope that the member states of the EU take action in light of this report and change laws and procedures to protect intersex people. In  doing so they will provide a viable template for non EU countries to also change the way intersex people are treated


About Author

I'm a middle aged MTF transperson, all I want from life is to be left in peace and be allowed to be one of the herd, until society allows that for myself and all trans people I'll stand up to fight for our rights to exist as equals.


  1. At last there is light shining at the end of the tunnel. I hope and pray that it will be very soon that intersex children will no longer be ‘fixed’ the way I was when I was a child.

    • I’m sure that these “normalising” surgeries will be abolished within the EU in the near future but I also feel that they will continue to be a blight on the rest of the world for many years to come, this report is the first step on a long journey for intersex people.
      Some days I find my resentment at being transgender almost overwhelms me, I struggle to comprehend how awful it must be to know that you had the chance to be your true self but had it taken away at birth. The sooner we drop this notion of gender being binary the better.

  2. Even when this discriminating surgeries are abolished there is still no freedom for intersex people. Because they have to defend themselves every day in a society that knows only men and women. Transpeople could help opening this society.

  3. Hiya Michael
    The trans & intersex comunity still have a long way to go to gain general acceptance by society at large but we will eventualy break free from this misconception that gender is strictly binary because we have science on our side.
    As this generation grows, develops & learns we will reach a point where society will realise that there’s nothing wrong with those outside of the binary, we are not trying to corrupt the moral fabric of the species we’re just trying to make the most of the hand that nature dealt us. . . . . just like every other Tom, Dick, Harry & Jayne on the face of this planet.

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