Make the Invisible Visible - Intersex Awareness Day

Interview with Kristian Randjelović, Executive Director of XY Spectrum

This 26 October 2020, we are marking the Intersex Awareness Day and we would like to ask you what is the current position of the intersex persons in Balkan region?

Balkan region is still a blind spot for intersex people. Invisibility is connected with stigma and just a few people are out and active in this region. So many different intersex variations are present and it is very concerning that intersex people do not have their voice. Intersex persons are on the societal margin. Stigma is followed by silence, shame and denial in general public. Intersex Awareness Dayis very crucial date not just for intersex people and their parents/partners but for everyone to recognize and accept that we exist. We are heathy and and should be celebrated more often. 

The work of XY Spectrum is well known in the region, but for those who do not follow your work, could you tell us more about your work? 

XY Spectrum is 3 years old organization that works on advancing the life quality of gender and sex variant persons, with main focus on organized support and raising visibility. We are inclusive of various identities in the spectrum of gender and sexuality, and in our work we recognize personal and social characteristics such as: age, race, ethnicity, religion, health status, economic status, sexual orientation, sex variations, gender identity and expression. Our work is focused on services provided to trans, intersex and non-binary persons and their parents and/orpartners. 

Considering that the Balkan region and the level of invisibility of the intersex persons tell us more about how is this theme welcomed by the LGBT community?

In general the LGBT community is still not informed enough about intersex issues, because silence about intersex existence is very present. In the Balkan region LGBT organisation are cooperating through ERA organisation which is supportive in sharing information about intersex reality. 

We are seeing the lack of the legal framework throughout the region and that organisations are trying to advocate and campaign in order to raise the visibility of the issues that intersex persons are facing, tell us what are your thoughts on how should LGBTI movements and organizations in other Balkan countries incorporate the advancement of the position of the intersex persons in their work? 

Very important is to share information about intersex existence and problems. Also inclusions of intersex topic and intersex people in LGBT organizations' work. Very important for intersex people is to be protected and properly treated in state health care system. LGBT organizations can advocate for ban of unnecessary medical interventions and inclusion of sex characteristics in anti-discrimination legislation.

And for the end, tell us how we collectively, as regional LGBTI community, can help to support intersex persons and to support your work. 

LGBT community can learn more, share and educate others about intersex and in that regard be sensitive and provide space for intersex persons' voices. An intersex person can question herself/himself, please offer that person counseling or therapy. Support parents of intersex children by giving accessible materials and space to address the issue or just give our contacts. Translate and publish available guidelines, toolkits and good practice procedures on your language. Have a good will, positive and compassionate approach as allies to intersex people.

END

Notes:  As of November 2019 within the ERA network has been established a trans, non-binary and intersex caucus, which aims to strengthen networking and cooperation among activists and community members of these communities as well as guide ERA's work an efforts in these areas. We wish to thank GiveOut UK for supporting the establishment of this caucus.

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