LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

European intersex meeting, Riga, 8 October 2014

On the 8th of October, ILGA-Europe hold an European intersex meeting in Riga. This meeting coincided with ILGA-Europe’s annual conference taking place in Riga on 9-11 October.

It gathered 10 European intersex activists, coming from France, Germany, Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The aim of this meeting was to set strategic objectives for the European intersex movement for the next coming years. In addition, ILGA-Europe supported the attendance of those intersex activists to the annual conference, as a means to build their own capacities and to raise all participants’ awareness on intersex activism.

Here is the statement intersex activists drafted together:

On Wednesday, the 8th of October the European Intersex Meeting took place in Riga. Under the umbrella of OII Europe and facilitated by ILGA Europe, this meeting gathered European intersex organisations working for intersex human rights. The goal of the meeting was to identify objectives and strategies to advocate for the full implementation of human rights and bodily integrity and self-determination for intersex individuals in Europe on the grounds of the Demands of the Malta Statement, formulated at the 3rd International Intersex Forum 2013.

The four objectives are:

To challenge the definition of sex as consisting of only male and female and promote the knowledge that sex is a continuum, as is gender.

To ensure that intersex people are fully protected against discrimination. To achieve this we recommend the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation on the ground of sex characteristics – regardless of the specific appearance or configuration of these characteristics. Sex characteristics refer to the chromosomal, gonadal and anatomical features of a person, which include primary characteristics such as reproductive organs and genitalia and/or chromosomal structures and hormones; and secondary characteristics such as, but not limited to, muscle mass, hair distribution, breasts and/or stature.

To ensure that all stakeholders that have a specific role to play in intersex people’s wellbeing such as, but not limited to, health care providers, parents and professionals working in the area of education, as well as society in general, are instructed on intersex issues from a human rights perspective.

To work towards making non-consensual medical and psychological treatment unlawful. Medical practitioners or other professionals should not conduct any treatment to the purpose of modifying sex characteristics which can be deferred until the person to be treated can provide informed consent.

In view of these objectives the European Intersex meeting calls on the European Union and the Council of Europe as well as national governments, to take on board intersex issues in their work and provide full protection for intersex people.

Background information:

Until now throughout Europe intersex individuals are being subjected to inhumane and degrading surgical, hormonal and other procedures, without consent. This is done at the discretion of doctors and outside legal regulation. The non-consensual sex modification of individuals is done disregarding the fact that sex is a continuum. This results in gross human rights violations and abuses of bodily integrity and personal dignity.

OII Europe (Organisation Intersex International Europe), the umbrella organisation of European human rights based intersex organisations was founded on Human Rights Day, 10 December, during the Second Intersex Forum at Stockholm in 2012 at the 2nd International Intersex Forum.

OII Europe is an autonomous affiliate of Organisation Internationale des Intersexués (OII), a decentralised global network of intersex organisations, which was founded in 2003 and has operated since then through its national groups in every region of the world.

Participating organisations:

Intersex Iceland

NNID of the Netherlands

OII Austria / VIMÖ

OII Belgium / Genres Pluriels

OII Bulgaria

OII Francophonie

OII Germany / IVIM

OII Scandinavia / Intersex Scandinavia

TransInterQueer e.V.