Category: Intersex

31 May – 2 June 2014 – TIA, S.H.E and GDX hosted the 2nd Trans Health, Research and Advocacy Conference, South Africa

Trans and Intersex Africa (TIA), Social, Health and Empowerment Feminist Collective of Transgender and Intersex Women of Africa (S.H.E) and Gender DynamiX (GDX hosted the 2nd Trans Health, Research and Advocacy Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. This was the largest conference in the series to date and had a total of 198 participants, of which 25 were from the region,  which included Botswana, Egypt, Lesotho, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other participating African countries included Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Madagascar, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. The 7 International presenters were Kristian Randjelovic and Dr Vladimir Kojovic from Serbia. Dr Kojovic and Dr Kevin Adams from the Groote Schuur Multidisciplinary Transgender Clinic collaborated in a theater at the hospital with surgery training which included a filming to reach a wider training audience. Drs Asa Radix, Mauro Cabral Sam Winter, Arlene Lev and Cecilia Chung made presentations on various topics and participated throughout the conference. The conference report includes, besides an overview of the complete program and speakers, an audit, comparing the 2011 conference recommendations next to the progress made in the period until the 2014 conference. The report cover is a collection of images from a collaborative project with the SistaazHood sex worker group and Robert Hamblin.

14 February 2014 – Death of Sally Gross

Prominent anti-apartheid and intersex activist Sally Gross was found to have passed away on February 14, 2014.  Her last communication had been with prominent New Zealand–based intersex activist Mani Bruce Mitchell, a friend who had posted a GoFundMe appeal for help on Gross’s behalf in January of the same year.  Gross’s work on behalf of Intersex South Africa had severely depleted her own limited resources and, as a result, her health, and the tragedy of her death affected communities all over the world. Many obituaries followed her death; see, for example, this one by Gabrielle Le Roux (https://thefeministwire.com/2014/02/tribute-sally-gross/) and this one published by Organization Intersex International (https://oiiinternational.com/2930/remembering-sally-gross/).  Gross continued to be greatly missed but her strong legacy, including Intersex South Africa, the organization she founded, lives on. 

December 2013 – Third International Intersex Forum

The Third International Intersex Forum took place in Valletta, Malta. An ongoing work document, with the initial 3 principles from the first forum, then being extended during the second forum evolved into the Malta Declaration at this third forum. The Malta Declaration was drafted and finalized by 34 intersex activists from all continents, with representation from 30 intersex organisations. The Malta Declaration is available in English, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Serbian and Spanish/ Castellano. The 3rd Intersex Forum was attended and represented from the African continent by Julius Kaggwa and Nthabiseng Mokoena. *Photo: Organisation Intersex International Australia

2005 – Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA) to include intersex, South Africa

The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (sometimes known as the Equality Act) was passed by the South African government in 2000 to prevent discrimination, hate speech, and harassment.  Following the work of activists, in 2005 PEPUDA was amended and became the first legislation in the world to include “intersex” within the legal definition of “sex” as “a congenital sexual differentiation which is atypical, to whatever degree.” This definition of intersex reflects activist work as it is almost identical to the recommendation submitted to the court by Intersex South Africa.  Sally Gross, advocated and worked passionately towards this inclusion. One of the major activist accomplishments of this legislation was to insist that intersex be self-defined, removing it from medical oversight or forced surgery that often accompanies legal definitions of “sex.”

December 2012 – Second International Intersex Forum

The Second International Intersex Forum took place in Stockholm, Sweden, and had intersex activists attending from all continents. The previous forum’s 3 principles were expanded to 7 and read as follows: To put an end to mutilating and “normalising” practices such as genital surgeries, psychological and other medical treatments, including infanticide and selective abortion (on the grounds of intersex). To ensure that the personal, free, prior, and fully informed consent of the intersex individual is a compulsory requirement in all medical practices and protocols. Creating and facilitating supportive, safe and celebratory environments for intersex people, their families and surroundings. In view of ensuring the bodily integrity and health of the intersex child, psycho-social support and non-pathologising peer support be provided to parents and/or care providers and the child’s immediate family instead of surgical or other medical treatment unless such interventions are live-saving. The provision of all human rights and citizenship rights to intersex people. The provision of access to one’s own medical records and any documentation, and the affirmation of the intersex person’s right to truth. The acknowledgment and redress of the suffering and injustice caused in the past. Another outcome of the forum was the open letter that was drafted by the global chair of Organisational Intersex International, Hilda Viloria and undersigned by the forum’s attending activists, (with 3 signatures from Africa, Sally Gross, Julius Kaggwa and Nthabiseng Mokoena) – the open letter was then presented to Her Excellency Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.  

2012 – Iranti founded

Iranti was founded, by Jabulani Chen Perreira, the organisation’s leadership, and the entire team is comprised of trans, lesbian and intersex persons. Iranti is an African regional organisation, that involves media and documenting in their advocacy. Intersex South Africa (ISSA), founded by, and formerly until her passing, run by Sally Gross, underwent a “make-over” and is now housed at Iranti. Other trans and intersex-specific programs include documenting and advocacy regarding trans health and access to medical care, advocacy around the ICD10 and more.  

September 2012 – Transitioning Africa met with the USAID Africa Bureau

The three directors of the TA coalition between the Support Initiative for People with congenital Disorders (SIPD) in Uganda and Gender DynamiX (GDX) and Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA), both from South Africa met in Nairobi with Dr Chloe Schwenke from the USAID Africa Bureau. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss support from the US Agency that would culminate in an African Blueprint for the Provision of Comprehensive Care for Trans Persons similar to the Blueprint in Latin America and the Caribbean. TA followed the meeting by sending a letter to propose to the US Agency for International Development (USAID), possibly in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), to collectively work on developing a similar model appropriate to African realities, creating a Blueprint for Transgender and Intersex Health Care for sub-Saharan Africa.

August 2009 – ISSA and GDX responds to public debate around Caster Semenya, South Africa

Sally Gross, Amanda Lock Swarr and Liesl Theron co-authored a critical thinking piece that was published in the Fall edition of the Feminist Studies Journal. “South African Intersex Activism: Caster Semenya’s Impact and Import” looks at the public responses from the two organisations: Intersex South Africa (ISSA)and Gender DynamiX (GDX) as the public debate erupted around Caster Semenya.