October 26, 2017 at 9:39 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
State Department acknowledges Intersex Awareness Day

The State Department on Oct. 26, 2017, acknowledged Intersex Awareness Day.

The State Department on Thursday acknowledged Intersex Awareness Day.

Spokesperson Heather Nauert in a statement said the U.S. “stands in solidarity with intersex persons and their advocates around the world.”

“We recognize that intersex persons face violence, discrimination, harassment and persecution on account of their sex characteristics,” she said. “At a young age, intersex persons routinely face forced medical surgeries without free or informed consent. These interventions jeopardize their physical integrity and ability to live freely.”

“On Intersex Awareness Day, we reaffirm our strong commitment to promoting a world where all persons can freely and equally express themselves with dignity, regardless of sex characteristics,” added Nauert. “When those most marginalized in society are afforded equal protection and opportunity, global security and stability are strengthened. Increased recognition, understanding and awareness of intersex persons and their human rights strengthens democracy for all.”

Intersex Awareness Day, which was first held in 2003, commemorates the world’s first-ever intersex protest that took place in Boston on Oct. 26, 1996.

Human Rights Watch and interACT, which is an intersex advocacy group, in July called upon the U.S. to ban “normalization” surgeries on intersex children.

A federal judge in Denver in June reopened the case of Dana Zzyym, a U.S. Navy veteran who sued the State Department after it denied them a passport. Zzyym is the associate director of the U.S. affiliate of the Organization Intersex International.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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