Intersex advocates address Parliament on involuntary sterilisation
In thirty historic minutes in the Commonwealth Parliament on 25 March 2014, senators from each of the three main political parties spoke on intersex health issues to mark World Health Day 2014. OII President Morgan Carpenter reports.
Senator Rachel Siewert (Greens, WA) spoke as Chair of the Community Affairs References Committee, which published the report “Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia” last October. Senator Sue Boyce (LNP, Queensland), spoke as chair of the Community Affairs Legislation Committee. They were joined by Senator Claire Moore (Labor, Queensland), now Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate, and previously a member of the Committee inquiry.
Morgan Carpenter (president of OII Australia) and Tony Briffa (vice president of both AISSGA and OII Australia) were both delighted to be in the gallery for the occasion. Morgan Carpenter said:
"In three extraordinary and powerful speeches we heard clear recognition that the medical treatment of intersex people is a human rights issue, that intersex is not a disorder, and that intersex people must be heard. Our issues are simply when regarded as issues of bodily autonomy, human rights, and individual choice of expression. Alone these statements are momentous, but the Senators also told some of our personal stories, and paid tribute to members of intersex-led organisations, OII Australia and the AIS Support Group Australia."
The Committee report was ground-breaking, we believe it’s the first parliamentary inquiry anywhere into intersex health and sterilisation, and its recommendations are welcome. We are enormously excited by today’s cross-party speeches. We hope that they will promote a better understanding of our health and human rights concerns, and policy changes that will lead to better health outcomes.
You can watch the speeches in full below