Intersex members

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2013 National LGBT Conference
30 July 2013

Conference welcomes the adoption in June by the Australian Parliament of a Bill extending the provisions of the country’s Sex Discrimination Act so as to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in areas including employment, the provision of goods and services, and education.

This is the first time anywhere in the world that intersex status has been included in anti-discrimination legislation. Intersex people are born with chromosomes, external genitals, and/or internal reproductive systems that are in between what is considered “standard” for either male or female. Being intersex is a biological characteristic, rather than an identity, and intersex people have just as diverse sexualities and gender identities as everyone else.

Conference further welcomes the adoption in June by the European Union (EU) of the Guidelines To Promote and Protect the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Persons. This is a comprehensive legally binding document that provides instructions to EU institutions and Member States on how to progress on human rights of LGBTI people in dealing with third countries and at international fora. It is the first ever EU policy document explicitly referring to intersex people.

Conference notes that these developments follow the growth in recent years of both the number of intersex organisations and the number of LGBTI organisations. In 2008, the ILGA world conference agreed that the name of the organisation should be amended to formally incorporate intersex people into the scope of ILGA for the first time. ILGA and ILGA Europe have been developing links with intersex organisations and work on intersex issues, and jointly organised the first International Intersex Organising Forum in 2011. This historic event brought together 24 activists representing 17 intersex organisations from all continents to network and work jointly towards the formulation of the demands of the emerging movement. The second Forum took place in 2012, and the third will take place in November 2013.

Conference recognises that UNISON has intersex members, and that some who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) participate in the LGBT self-organised group. It believes that there is a need for UNISON to develop its understanding of issues affecting intersex members, and to develop appropriate advice for branches and UNISON representatives on bargaining issues and representing intersex members. It also recognises that our group needs to ensure that it is fully inclusive of intersex members who identify as LGBT.

Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to:

1. Raise these issues with the National Executive Council;

2. Carry out an appropriate review of the arrangements for our group with a view to ensuring that our language, meetings and campaigns are inclusive of intersex LGBT members and issues and to identifying any potential barriers to participation;

3. Actively seek, in relation to this review, the views of intersex members who identify as LGBT;

4. Report back to 2014 conference with any recommendations.