The 61st ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in Gambia marked not only the 30th anniversary of the Commission, but also its arguably first panel discussion on intersex human rights in Africa, hosted by the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) and NGOs Iranti-org and SIPD-Uganda. >>> Full report
Panelist and ACHPR Commissioner Lawrence Murugu Mute (Kenya) “acknowledged that from the nature of the human rights violations a lot of work had to be done at national level and that clearly the African Commission had a role to play”.
The Commissioner had also clear words to say on the harmful misconception & misrepresentation of intersex as an LGBT issue – and how pervasive such harmful notions are also in Kenya:
“Commissioner Mute was also concerned by the conflation of intersex and […] LGBT issues. ‘You have to do a lot of work in clarifying and explaining what intersex is all about. There is a lot of conflation maybe arising from the acronym LGBTI.’ He gave an example of the case R.M v Attorney-General and Others Petition 705 of 2007 in Kenya in which the judge delved into issues dealing with […] sexual minorities when clearly the person in the case was an intersex person.”
Exactly how widespread and unreflected this harmful “conflation” is also in Africa and particularly among its main promoters, i.e. LGBT representatives, can be gleaned from the fact that within the Centre for Human Rights, instead of a department with expertise particularly on harmful practices, of all things the “SOGIE (i.e. LGBT) Unit” is coordinating intersex issues, and that the Centre’s full report of the panel discussion authored by SOGIE Unit representative Tapiwa Mamhare repeatedly misrepresented intersex as just “[an]other LGBT issue[…]” and just “[an]other sexual minority group” – even within the very paragraph describing Commissioner Mute’s valid concern!! –, and how immediately after Commissioner Mute raised his concern, moderator Monica Tabengwa (ILGA) “chipped into the discussion highlighting that there were circumstances were it is necessary to collaborate with other sexual minority groups for solidarity purposes”, again misrepresenting intersex as just “[an]other sexual minority group” – how much longer?!
On a positive note, the list of recommendations presented by Tapiwa Mamhare of the Centre for Human Rights not only includes the most important measures to be implemented, but also gets the priorities right by listing the most urgent first:
- Prohibiting genital mutilation and medically unnecessary surgery or procedures on the sex characteristics of intersex children and to protect their physical integrity and respect their autonomy.
- Putting an end to infanticide and baby abandonment of intersex children.
We’d like to applaud ACHPR Commissioner Mute’s courageous and timely warning of the dangers of the pervasive conflation and misrepresentation of intersex as just “yet another LGBT issue” and just “yet another sexual minority”, and to urge everybody still engaging in such harmful misrepresentations to do better in the future.
And we’d like to thank the Centre for Human Rights, Iranti-org and SIPD-Uganda for facilitating this groundbreaking panel discussion, and for reporting about it.
• 28 UN Reprimands for IGM – and counting …
• “Harmful Medical Practice”: UN, COE, ACHPR, IACHR condem IGM
• Intersex Genital Mutilations in South Africa: NGO Report (PDF, 926 kb)
• East Africa > Intersex Survey Documents IGM, Infanticide, Abandonment
• Intersex Genital Mutilation on a Global Scale: CRC Briefing (PDF, 3.14 MB)
• UN-CRC condemns Intersex Genital Mutilation in South Africa
• UN-CRPD condemns Intersex Genital Mutilation in Morocco
• IGM: South Africa first state to recognise ongoing harmful practice
• IDAHOT*: Let’s Talk About Intersex Appropriation …
• LGBTs Instrumentalizing intersex: “Excess of projection” – Georg Klauda
• UN Press Release misrepresents IGM as “sex alignment surgeries”
• UN Press Release misrepresents IGM survivors as “transsexual children”
• Intersex: Misrepresenting Genital Mutilation as “Health Care”
• UN-CCPR120: Pinkwashing of Intersex Genital Mutilation
• UK: Misappropriation of Intersex Funding by LGBT Groups
• Denmark: Intersex children abused as cannon fodder for LGBT politics
• Australia: LGBT group misappropriating intersex funds – again!
• Academic Complicity in IGM Practices
• “You shouldn’t always talk about the surgeries!”
IGM On A Global Scale: UN-CRC Briefing
• IGM: A Survivor’s Perspective • Intersex Movement History
• What are Variations of Sex Anatomy? • What are IGM Practices?
• IGM and Human Rights • Conclusion: IGM is a Harmful Practice
>>> Download PDF (3.14 MB) >>> Table of Contents