Center for American Progress

RELEASE: On Intersex Awareness Day, New CAP Analysis Finds People With Intersex Traits Experience Heightened Discrimination
Press Release

RELEASE: On Intersex Awareness Day, New CAP Analysis Finds People With Intersex Traits Experience Heightened Discrimination

Washington, D.C. — Today, October 26, marks Intersex Awareness Day. A new analysis from the Center for American Progress’ LGBTQ Research and Communications Project helps paint a picture of the underexamined yet sizable population of people with intersex traits. Based on CAP’s nationally representative 2020 survey data of LGBTQI+ adults, the authors find that intersex people experience heightened discrimination in a variety of settings—from their interactions with health care providers to their attempts to acquire accurate ID documents. The column’s key findings include:

  • 69 percent of LGBTQ+ intersex respondents reported experiencing some form of discrimination in the year prior to the survey—roughly two times the rate of discrimination reported by LGBTQ+ nonintersex respondents.
  • 88 percent of LGBTQ+ intersex respondents reported experiencing some form of discrimination from a doctor or health care provider in the year prior to CAP’s survey—including refusal of care, harsh language, or physical abuse—compared with 19 percent of LGBTQ+ nonintersex respondents.
  • 77 percent of LGBTQ+ intersex respondents who reported discrimination in the year prior said that it affected their “ability to obtain accurate ID documents” to some degree, compared with 23 percent of LGBTQ+ nonintersex respondents who reported discrimination.

“To address these disparities, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should take steps to prohibit nonconsensual, medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex youth,” said Caroline Medina, policy analyst for the LGBTQ Research and Communications Project and co-author of the column. “HHS should also create awareness campaigns for the public, medical professionals, and other stakeholders about the rights of intersex youth. And to address discrimination against people with intersex traits, it’s imperative that Congress pass the Equality Act. ”

“The finding that intersex patients experience discrimination in health care settings at a rate more than four times that of nonintersex patients is both staggering and unsurprising,” said Kimberly Zieselman, executive director of interAct. “For years, intersex people as young as infants have been subjected to harmful discriminatory practices that cause profound lifelong physical and emotional harms. These important new data help quantify what the intersex community has known for years.”

Please click here to read: “Key Issues Facing People With Intersex Traits” by Caroline Medina, Lindsay Mahowald, and Sharita Gruberg

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tricia Woodcome at twoodcome@americanprogress.org.

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