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Intersex visibility highlighted this Auckland Pride

8 February, 2023

Listen to the full interview

Jelly O'Shea, communications and project manager for Intersex Aotearoa wants to normalise intersex bodies and encourage understanding and visibility of the issues faced by the intersex community. Photo: Canva.

Interview by Jessica Hopkins, adapted by Georgi Stirling and David Liwei Shi

On Saturday 18 February, Auckland Pride will be marching in solidarity with our intersex community. 

This year, the festival is encouraging the rainbow community and its allies to elevate important issues for Intersex or ira tāngata people.

Jelly O'Shea, communications and project manager for Intersex Aotearoa, an organisation that looks to affirm and advocate on behalf of people born with variations of sex characteristics, otherwise known as intersex, told 95bFM's The Wire that they are excited hold space for the Intersex community during pride.

“There’s a lack of understanding around our complexity, amazing diversity, and how we fit into the rainbow.”

O’Shea highlighted that Intersex is separate to gender identity and sexual orientation.

"Lots of people who have intersex variations subscribe to being cisgender and also heterosexual.” 

O’Shea hopes that the collaboration with Auckland Pride will help to normalise intersex bodies and encourage understanding and visibility of the issues faced by the intersex community, including the outdated medicalisation of people with sex characteristic variations. 

"We put the onus on intersex bodies to change rather than society to change.” 

O’Shea stated that their call to action is for people to ask more questions about what’s happening in our hospitals and why.

Intersex Aotearoa is currently working with Te Whatu Ora on developing new medical guidelines for Intersex people.

"We are definitely trying to change the system from within, but we believe that protests and community activation are still important."

Public interest journalism funded through NZ On Air