By making space for my intersex column, DIVA magazine, created regular monthly intersex representation
BY VALENTINO VECCHIETTI
Back in January 2019, a little piece of history was made when DIVA magazine welcomed me to the DIVA team as their new intersex columnist. For the first time ever in the UK or internationally, an intersex column and an intersex columnist was born.
By making space for my intersex column, DIVA magazine created regular monthly intersex representation. I am immensely grateful to have a platform to respond to and comment on the situation for people with intersex variations in the UK, as well as globally.
Each month, I have shared stories, and brought inclusion, visibility, and, I hope, some much needed joy to my intersex community. I’ve also made really meaningful connections with DIVA readers in the wider community.
This year, Kirsty Smith, a regular DIVA reader and one of the organisers of the LGBT+ Leeds Literary Festival, invited me to take part in the festival. We had a wonderful conversation about my column, its impact and the connection I created with my readers.
My community urgently needs solidarity and allyship. We still have so much to fight for. As my regular readers will know, intersex variations are naturally occurring, physical, variations in our sex characteristics that we can be born with.
Currently, in the UK and globally, infants and children born with intersex variations are routinely subject to non-consensual, cosmetic, medical interventions, including surgeries, in an attempt to erase our natural, physical diversity.
We are calling for an end to these non-essential interventions, and ask for the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. We ask for the right to make choices about our own bodies when we are old enough to make informed decisions.
In the latter half of 2019, I founded Intersex Equality Rights UK. We have an amazing team of diverse intersex activists and allies working together in our organisation.
Throughout lockdown we’ve continued to give workshops, panels and events. And as restrictions have lifted, we’re expanding our work. I’m so proud of our team as we work together towards our goals to create space for our community to thrive.
I hope with this new and growing online space we can increase support and solidarity, and bring inclusion, visibility and some much needed joy to my wonderful intersex community.
Did you know?
Intersex is an umbrella term for over 40 named, diverse and natural, physical variations in sex characteristics that people can be born with. Intersex is distinct from gender identity and from sexual orientation although, as with all populations, these can intersect.
Sex Characteristics relate to primary (those we are born with) and secondary (those we develop at puberty) sex characteristics. Diversity in our sex characteristics is as natural as it is for us to have diversity in our sexual orientation and in our gender identities.
Population statistic – We comprise 1.7% of the population, in the UK that is over 1.1 million, and globally that is over 130 million.
Intersex Awareness Weeks run from 18 October to 14 November, and include 26 October Intersex Awareness Day and 8 November Intersex Day of Remembrance.
Watch this space for updates and more!
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