IHRA: JOINT STATEMENT TO THE CONGREGATION FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION & THE W.H.O
JOINT STATEMENT ON “MALE & FEMALE: HE CREATED THEM”, TOWARDS A PATH OF DIALOGUE ON THE QUESTION OF GENDER THEORY IN EDUCATION, BY THE CONGREGATION FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION.
We, intersex-led and allied networks, organizations and activists, express our grave concern regarding the position adopted by the Congregation for Catholic Education in regard to people born with variations of sex characteristics. The document treats us as validly existing only when unnamed, and pathologized as subjects of forced and coercive medical interventions. This will cause profound distress to many intersex people and our families. We reject these positions because of their intrinsic harm to intersex people.
Intersex people were affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19:12, and by Augustine in City of God 16:8. For more than a millennium, Catholic Canon law regarded intersex people as valid and existing: as “hermaphrodites”, to be regarded in tracts on marriage and ordination as female or male depending upon predominant characteristics. To us, it appears as though the erasure of that language in recent decades has also erased institutional memories. That harmful erasure is compounded in the document’s separation of the modern term, intersex (para 25), from a description of our bodies (para 24). It is painfully clear that the authors of this document did not consider, let alone confer with, the many intersex people across the world who are members of the Catholic faith…
Media statement – International Classification of Diseases 11 and intersex people
In response to the World Health Organisation classifying intersex as a pathology and disorder, promoting the idea of unnecessary medical interference a media statement of over 50 intersex activist organisations have responded. Here is an extract from the open letter:
“We have been dismayed that the World Health Organization has deepened the pathologisation of intersex traits in the ICD-11. The ICD-11 will not only introduce a controversial language of “disorders of sex development” into the ICD, which we know promotes ideas that intersex bodies need to be “fixed”, the ICD-11 Foundation contains information that requires early surgery based on technical rationales, heteronormative ideas and gender stereotypes, and that support genetic deselection as an alternative to early surgery. These ideas, including that it is “easier to make a hole than build a pole”, have long been discredited, and they violate human rights – including the right to bodily integrity, freedom from harmful practices, ill-treatment and discrimination, and the right to privacy.”
You can read the full article detailing the statement here on Intersex Human Rights Australia’s website.