Board changes at OII Australia: Gina Wilson steps down
OII Australia founding member Gina Wilson has stepped down from her role as President after several years of outstanding commitment to advocating for intersex rights. OII VP Chris Somers has also stepped down but remains a board member.
Taking on the role of championing intersex rights in Australia is former OII secretary Morgan Carpenter.
In a statement to media, Carpenter took time out to recognise Wilson’s commitment and achievements as outgoing President, suggesting there is no denying Wilson’s considerable contribution to recent wins in anti-discrimination legislation and the ongoing senate inquiry into the practice of normalising surgeries.
“We would like to publicly recognise, honour and thank Gina’s commitment to the organisation over many years. Gina possesses enormous skill, tenacity and commitment. She founded OII Australia, and her intersex advocacy work has been groundbreaking both for Australia and internationally. In particular, this last year has seen many longstanding actions come to fruition. It’s been an exhilarating – and somewhat exhausting – roller coaster.”
Carpenter highlighted Wilson’s work on achieving "authentic and appropriate inclusion" in anti-discrimination legislation, with the intention of no religious exemptions.
“Gina helped to draft the wording for ‘intersex status’ that was eventually adopted in anti-discrimination legislation” and assisted in achieving “federal recognition of sex and gender, for those of us that need it”.
“Gina’s work has promoted greater awareness of intersex, and established constructive working partnerships with parliamentarians, and human rights and advocacy organisations,” said Carpenter. “We admire Gina, respect her achievements, and will miss her insightful and active contributions to the organisation.”
While Carpenter believes Wilson stepping down “will leave a significant hole”, he says the organisation is in great shape, and is moving towards full charitable status and has a growing membership.
Carpenter is no stranger to the issues of intersex and LGBT people, he wrote OII’s submissions to both Senate Inquiries on anti-discrimination legislation, and several submissions to the Senate Inquiry on involuntary or coerced sterilisation. He also participated in Senate hearings, and took a key role in discussions with government ministers and other politicians. Carpenter is also a member of the National LGBTI Health Alliance’s Intersex, Trans and Gender Diversity Working Group, and Mental Health Working Group.
Tony Briffa will take over from Chris Somers as VP. Briffa is the former mayor of Hobsons Bay and was one of the first Australian intersex activists to go public in 2000.