[ October 26, 2023, OTTAWA]
A year ago, on Intersex Awareness Day, Canada’s largest network of 2SLGBTQI+ organizations, The Enchanté Network, released 7 Calls to Action for the Canadian Government to step up and better support Intersex Canadians. To this day, the Canadian Government has still to act on any of those calls.
The Enchanté Network is Canada’s largest network of 2SLGBTQI+ organizations – connecting, supporting, and advocating for more than 200 frontline 2SLGBTQI+ organizations that span every province and territory.
For more than 30 years, intersex advocates have been calling for the end of medically unnecessary surgeries and the recognition, protection, and promotion of human rights for their communities. The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) defines intersex as, people who are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies.
It estimated that 1.7% of the world’s population are born with intersex characteristics – about the same proportion of people who have red hair. Intersex people are subject to numerous human rights abuses around the globe, including infanticide, forced medical interventions, job discrimination, and lack of access to justice.
Enough is enough. Once again, The Enchanté Network is calling on Canada to recognize, protect, and promote intersex human rights. The following Calls to Action were developed through the Enchanté Network’s national consultation with intersex organizations and individuals.
7 Calls to Action: How the Canadian Government Can Support Intersex Communities
1. Nationally recognize Intersex Awareness Day on October 26th
2. Change the Human Rights Act to add “sex characteristics or intersex status”
3. Ban nonconsensual surgeries on intersex children and infants
4. Provide research funds for research on the intersex community that is led by intersex people themselves
5. Amend subsection 268(3) of the Criminal Code
6. Hold a call to evidence for the intersex community to share their experiences. The UK government already did this in 2019: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/variations-in-sex-characteristics-call-for-evidence
7. Update forms and data collection to be more intersex-inclusive
Tyler Boyce, Executive Director, The Enchanté Network