Intersex 101

Copenhagen Winter Pride Week is coming up and it gives you a chance to learn more about the challenges and lack of basic rights that intersex people experience through both a debate and a an international public hearing about intersex rights taking place in Christiansborg – the Danish parliament. If you feel unsure about intersex definitions and issues, you might find the answers in our Intersex 101.

Intersex 101

01 What is the definition of intersex?
The term intersex covers a wide range of natural variations in gender anatomy, that means variations in genitalia, reproductive organs, gender chromosomes, hormonal structures and secondary gender characteristics that vary from the binary perception of male and female. From a medical point of view 42 different diagnoses are considered as being within the spectrum of intersex.

02 How many are born intersex each year?
It is estimated that 1,7 % of a population is born intersex.

03 Is intersex a gender identity or a biological state?
It is a biological or hormonal state. The above mentioned variations can be present from birth or occur later in life. They are not in any direct or binary way linked to a specific gender.

04 How do you determine the gender of an intersex person?
By asking the person and allowing them to define themselves. A person who is intersex can identify as male,
female, both or neither.

05 How may intersex people experience discrimination – socially and legally?
We don’t have any exact figures on that. Simply, because no survey has ever been made to determine this. What we do know, however, is, that when Amnesty Denmark in 2016/17 conducted a survey of the access for intersex people to adequate and safe health services in Denmark and Germany, they had an extremely difficult time finding people, who were willing to partake in the survey, and thereby speak openly (even under the guise of anonymity) about their intersex status, because the stigma surrounding being intersex, was so very, very strong.

06 What are the main challenges intersex people face today in Denmark?
Ignorance – and the prejudice that follows along with invisibility – and thereby silence and a feeling of isolation.
Access to health care and perhaps most importantly proper protection against unwanted or uncalled for surgical interventions.

Intersex Issues to be debated during Copenhagen Winter Pride Week 2018
This Winter Pride Week provides you with a chance to learn more about the challenges and lack of basic rights that intersex people experience. On Thursday 8 February a debate takes place in Studenterhuset focusing on how we can stop intersex people from being harmed in the name of medical science and how to provide better health care, more safety, equal rights and protection for intersex individuals. Both OII (Organisation Intersex International) as well as Amnesty Denmark and the Danish Institute for Human Rights will be represented.
The following day, on Friday 9 February, an international public hearing about intersex rights takes place in Christiansborg – the Danish parliament. Topics include intersex 101, health care needs, the current situation in Denmark, recent developments and research, panel debates, public debates and lectures. Access to the hearing is free but limited, and it is necessary to sign up for the event beforehand.

Where & When
Debate: International Intersex Conference
Thursday / 08.02.2018 / 17.00 – 18.00
Studenterhuset, Købmagergade 52,
1150 Copenhagen

International Hearing about Intersex Rights
Friday / 09.02.2018 / 10.00 – 17.00
Christiansborg, (Danish Parliament), Rigsdagsgården, 1218 Copenhagen

More info in the English program on

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