October 26 Is Intersex Awareness Day; What This Special Day Means

People may have heard of hermaphrodite or eunuchs but intersex is a much broader term and no, it's not the same as being transgender.

A lot of people gets confused by the two terms, that's why Intersex Awareness Day is celebrated to promote better understanding of the issue. Sadly, there is still a stigma of being an intersex. Doctors have been known to push removal of "abnormal" parts from an intersex's body so they can fit into typical female or male norms.

According to data from the United Nations, there is an estimated 1.7% of babies worldwide born with intersex traits. The UN has launched a campaign to tackle the challenges faced by intersex individuals. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that many intersex people lead a very difficult journey after birth.

"Because their bodies don't comply with typical definitions of male or female, intersex children and adults are frequently subjected to forced sterilization and irreversible surgery, and suffer discrimination in schools, workplaces and other settings," he said.

The UN has proposed some measures to protect the rights of intersex people, including a ban on unnecessary medical procedures.

John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson of the Bureau of Public Affairs, said "Intersex persons routinely face forced medical surgeries that are conducted at a young age without free or informed consent. These interventions jeopardize their physical integrity and ability to live free."

Intersex Awareness Day seeks to provide knowledge to people worldwide so that discrimination and violence that intersex people face may end.

"On Intersex Awareness Day, we are reminded that all people everywhere are created equal and should be afforded equal dignity and respect, regardless of sex characteristics. We look forward to continued cooperation with civil society, like-minded governments, and others to advance the human rights of intersex persons," Kirby added.

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