Inaugural Darlington Intersex Ally Award – the “Darling”

On Intersex Awareness Day 2018, a consortium of intersex-led and allied organisations working towards implementation of the Darlington Statement in Australia will announce the recipient of the first annual Darlington intersex ally award, the “Darling”.

The award is presented to an organisation, institution or individual that demonstrates a commitment to action beyond merely affirming the Darlington Statement. This Statement, created in 2017, is a community consensus statement that sets out the demands of the intersex human rights movement in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. It calls for recognition of our right to bodily integrity, and outlines the systemic changes needed to ensure their enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and other human rights.

The nominees

There are five nominees, made by participants of the Darlington retreats:

The National LGBTI Health Alliance supported both Darlington retreats and the development of the Darlington Statement through their mindOUT program. The Alliance also made strong efforts to elevate intersex voices at the national Health in Difference conference.

The ACT Government Office for LGBTIQ Affairs engaged in dialogue to implement the Darlington Statement in the ACT, and potentially create future legislation to protect intersex people from forced and coercive medical practices. It was the first government body to affirm the Darlington Statement.

Senator Janet Rice of the Australian Greens engaged in talks about implementing the Darlington Statement at a federal level. She spoke on intersex human rights issues in Parliament and her office helped to facilitate two annual Intersex Awareness Day events.

ACT Labor added the Darlington Statement to their 2017-2018 Platform, including the prohibition of deferrable medical interventions that alter the sex characteristics of infants and children without personal consent, the development of human rights affirming standards of care, and resourcing for peer support organisations. ACT Labor was the first political body to achieve this.

People with Disability Australia collaborated with intersex-led organisations in work with, and submissions to, UN Treaty Bodies and the Australian Human Rights Commission. They have a continued history of collaboration dating to the 2013 Senate committee inquiries on involuntary or coerced sterilisation.

Statements by the nominees

Nicky Bath, National LGBTI Health Alliance states: “The National LGBTI Health Alliance is thrilled and honoured to be nominated for the first ever “Darling” award for outstanding ally-ship to the Intersex Human Rights Movement in Australia. Our partnership over the last few years with Intersex organisations and advocates has led to some important outcomes such as the Darlington Statement, and a large presence of presenters at our Health in Difference conference this year. to be recognised as an outstanding ally is a great honour and we are excited to continue this vital work going forward.”

Therese Sand, representing People with Disability Australia states: “PWDA is honoured to be nominated for the inaugural Darlington Intersex Ally Award. As an organisation constituted, led and governed by people with disability, PWDA has a strong affinity with intersex-led organisations. Our commitment to the implementation of the Darlington Statement is underpinned by our work to progress the human rights of all people with disability, and our recognition that the human rights of intersex people are articulated by the international human rights framework, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). For several years, PWDA has been collaborating with intersex-led organisations, and using the international human rights framework to raise human rights concerns about forced sterilisation and forced medical interventions perpetrated against people with disability and intersex people, and have called for legal prohibition of these practices. PWDA remains committed to our shared campaign to end human rights violations against our rights to bodily and mental integrity.”

Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, states: “Proud the ACT Government Office for LGBTIQ Affairs has been nominated for the inaugural Darlington Intersex Ally Award. The ACT Government’s vision is for Canberra to be the most LGBTIQ welcoming and inclusive city in Australia. A key component of this vision is to make the ACT the most intersex-competent, inclusive and welcoming jurisdiction in Australia. We look forward to ongoing engagement with intersex organisations to consider the impact of the Darlington Consensus Statement in the ACT.”

A representative of ACT Labor states: “The ACT stands out in Australia as a community that prides itself on equality and inclusion. Ending human rights abuses against intersex persons is an important cause that ACT Labor is proud to champion in our community. We are very pleased to have been nominated for the inaugural Darlington Intersex Ally Award in 2018! ACT Labor, as the largest force for fairness in the ACT, has a proud record of standing up for the rights of those in our community who are marginalised, discriminated against, or denied a fair go – even when it has not always been popular to do so. We are proud to have adopted the Darlington Statement into our policy platform, and look forward to continuing to work as an ally of the intersex community into the future.”

Senator Janet Rice states: “It is wonderful to hear that I have been nominated for the inaugural Darling award! I have been honoured to support and advocate for the intersex community in Parliament. As Co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of LGBTIQ Australians, I was proud to bring the recognition of Intersex Awareness Day into the Australian Parliament for the very first time last year, with my office leading the organisation of a breakfast roundtable of intersex advocates and parliamentarians and staff; and this year coordinating the community’s advocacy day in Parliament. I will always stand with the intersex community in their fight for their human rights. The Greens are the first political party in Australia to affirm the Darlington Statement and we are committed to continue working with peer-led intersex groups, individuals, human rights experts and health professionals to realise the human rights and dignity of all people who are born with variations of sex characteristics.”

Statements by representatives of AISSGA and IHRA

Bonnie Hart, national President of the AIS Support Group Australia, says: “The work done by intersex advocates in this country to provide peer support, push for affirmative health care pathways, and protect the human rights of intersex people who are not able to provide informed consent to medically unnecessary interventions is difficult, triggering and unrewarded. This year, on Intersex Awareness Day, we want to honour the individuals and organisations who have stood with us in our struggle and meaningfully acted on the demands made in the Darlington Statement within their respective spheres of influence.”

Morgan Carpenter, Intersex Human Rights Australia, says: “All the nominees are to be warmly thanked and congratulated for their work and their vision. We also thank all the signatories to the Darlington Statement for their concrete commitment to action promoting the human rights of intersex people – rights that most other people take for granted. Some, like many of our nominees, have taken action over many years, and others have broken new ground. We warmly encourage other allies and people born with intersex variations to join us.”