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GATE Intersex Statement on International Day of Families 2018

On the International Day of Families 2018, GATE calls for recognition that families may include intersex infants, children or adults. We call for justice and an end to all forms of violence, torture and discrimination against children born with intersex variations.
Sustainable Development Goal 16 calls for the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. To achieve this, countries must reduce all forms of violence, end violence and torture against children, develop accountable and transparent institutions, ensure public access to information, and ensure access to birth registration. The Yogyakarta Principles and Yogyakarta Principles plus 10 provide some guidance on how to achieve these targets.
States must act to protect the right of intersex and all children to bodily and mental integrity (Yogyakarta Principle 32) and end abuse, violence, and torture of children. Children born with intersex variations remain the subjects of stigmatizing, arbitrary and unnecessary medical interventions with harmful consequences, including surgical, hormonal and consequential interventions. Documented cases in high income countries include surgeries designed to sterilize and “enhance” genital appearance that deliberately take place before children are old enough to comprehend them. Only one country – Malta – has enacted legislation to prevent such interventions.
Sadly, the overwhelming majority of family members lack access to affirmative and resourced peer support and advocates. Family members may fear stigma associated with children that are perceived as different. They may act on clinical advice that lacks evidence of necessity and lacks long-term follow-up. Family members may approve medical interventions, often on the basis of inadequate or partial information, and without knowing that such practices are strongly contested. In resource-poor environments, children with intersex variations may be subjected to infanticide and honor killings, including by family members.
States must act to protect the right to truth (Yogyakarta Principle 37) and ensure full disclosure of violations of human rights. Countries must ensure that institutions performing human rights violations are accountable and must publish evidence of their practices. Individuals subjected to human rights violations must be informed about the nature of their experiences. access to affirmative information on intersex variations for parents and prospective parents.
Not all countries provide mechanisms for birth registrations. Individuals in some countries report a lack of access to birth registration, or the application of conditions that force their child to undergo medical intervention in order to be registered as a citizen. Yogyakarta Principle 31 calls for States to recognize the right to legal recognition without reference to, or requiring assignment or disclosure of, sex, sex characteristics, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
GATE reiterates its call to governments, human rights defender and institutions, and to allies in all movements and professional fields, to recognise, defend and promote the right of intersex people to justice, and an end to all forms of violence, torture and discrimination.
In solidarity,
The GATE Team