Intersex Day of Solidarity: What it’s like to grow up intersex

November 8 is Intersex Day of Solidarity 2018, so PinkNews spoke to three intersex activists to find out what it’s like to grow up intersex because as intersex activist Anick points out, the “in LGBTI+ does not stand for invisible, it stands for intersex.”

What does intersex mean?

Even though it has been predicted that there are as many intersex people in the world as redheads, it is not a term that is widely understood. PinkNews recently spoke to activists in the documentary Sidney & Friends to find out what it’s like to be intersex in Kenya.

Intersex means that you are born with sex characteristics and hormone receptor responses (this include genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. It is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations. In some cases, intersex traits are visible from birth while in others, they are not apparent until puberty. Some traits may not be visible at all.

Being intersex is distinct to sexual orientation and gender identity. It relates to biological sex characteristics only, meaning an intersex person may identify in a number of ways, such as genderfluid, transgender, straight, gay, bisexual, lesbian, or asexual.

What is Intersex Day of Solidarity?

Intersex Day of Solidarity 2018 is on November 8. It is a day to celebrate activists, advocate for human rights—and the perfect opportunity to up your game as an ally.

Kimberly Zieselman, executive director of interACT, told PinkNews: “For me, Intersex Day of Solidarity is a time to recognise those in the intersex community who have blazed the trail before me and others currently on the front lines of intersex activism. These include folks like Sally Gross from South Africa who have already passed away.

“It’s a day to be proud of being intersex and be grateful for each other.”

What is it like to grow up intersex?

In I am intersex, an animation produced by, Pidgeon Pagonis voices a fellow intersex person’s experience of growing up with pressure from doctors to have “normalisation surgery.”

Watch the video above to hear their story.

Holly Greenberry, a intersex/VSC-bodied, pansexual woman who co-founded intersexUK, told PinkNews it was, at times, “pretty brutal growing up” as a young person in the 1980s and ’90s, but is happy to now be a positive role model who has been to university, is now a parent to an 11-year-old daughter, and even trained as a free diver.

She told PinkNews that she had in the past “been called a faggot, a tranny, a dyke—every derogatory term relating to gender.”

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