“It is only through choosing to include intersex that we can work together to create intersex liberation”
BY VALENTINO VECCHIETTI
In the last few years I have been struggling with my health. Last summer I found out that I have a progressive, incurable, mast cell disease. At the height of my joy and excitement at seeing my Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag go viral, I was also struggling with this sad and difficult news.
I didn’t know how to talk publicly about it because I didn’t know how to make sense of it. At the time I struggled to hold the mixed emotions of unexpected joy connected to my flag activism, whilst simultaneously feeling so much personal grief.
Having a mast cell disease is ongoing, and at times bewildering. It has led to increasing hospital admissions. But what I do know is that I am a writer and artist, and an intersex activist and equality rights campaigner. Doing the work I love means so much to me, and I don’t want to stop.
On a lighter note, I’m delighted to share with you that this month’s column is my three year anniversary as an intersex columnist at DIVA magazine! I wrote my first column in February 2019. Never before had a magazine included an intersex columnist with an intersex focus.
Together over these last three years DIVA magazine has given me a platform to raise awareness of intersex oppression and the struggle for intersex liberation. It’s an incredible privilege and honour to be a columnist. And I am so grateful to DIVA magazine and my readers for their support.
February is LGBTI+ History Month. I’m adding the I to the title here, although it has not yet been officially added. The theme this year is Blurring Borders. Blurring Borders does not just mean extending geographical borders, it also means extending the borders of who is included in our community. We are intersex. We are here. We need to be seen, heard and known.
History Month is a community event designed to raise awareness of our community. Something I have learned from my activism is that you don’t have to wait for others to include intersex. It is up to all of us to actively choose to invite intersex speakers and creatives to all our events. It is only through choosing to include intersex that we can work together to create intersex liberation.
I’d like to share with you some of the wonderful and remarkable intersex activists whom I greatly admire, respect, and love. Please learn about their work, find out how you can support their work and invite them to speak at your LGBTI+ History Month events.
In Central Africa: Ronie Zuze founder of Intersex Community of Zimbabwe (icoz) @icozimbabwe
In South Asia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopi_Shankar_Madurai
During last year’s history month my organisation @Intersex_ Equality_ Rights_ UK began our campaign to include intersex. We made a series of posts celebrating the work of intersex activists making history. Check out our instagram for more ideas and tips.
Whether or not we are prepared, we live in an ever changing terrain which constantly blurs borders. History teaches us that we all need to constantly adapt to meet the demands of change. My health has been a stark reminder of this. But my activism has taught me that we can also be the drivers of change.
Happy February everyone!
DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable.
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