Discrimination against intersex people

Intersex people are born with sex characteristics, such as chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies".[1] "Because their bodies are seen as different, intersex children and adults are often stigmatized and subjected to multiple human rights violations".[1]

Discriminatory treatment includes Infanticide, abandonment, mutilation and neglect, as well as broader concerns regarding the right to life.[2][3] Intersex people face discrimination in education, employment, healthcare, sport, with an impact on mental and physical health, and on poverty levels, including as a result of harmful medical practices.[4]

United Nations, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Council of Europe, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and other human rights institutions, have called for countries to ban discrimination and combat stigma.[5] Few countries so far protect intersex people from discrimination.[2][6]

Protection from discrimination

  Explicit protection on grounds of sex characteristics
  Explicit protection on grounds of intersex status
  Explicit protection on grounds of intersex within attribute of sex

A 2013 first international pilot study. Human Rights between the Sexes, by Dan Christian Ghattas, found that intersex people are discriminated against worldwide: "Intersex individuals are considered individuals with a «disorder» in all areas in which Western medicine prevails. They are more or less obviously treated as sick or «abnormal», depending on the respective society."[7][8]

The United Nations states that intersex people suffer stigma on the basis of physical characteristics, "including violations of their rights to health and physical integrity, to be free from torture and ill-treatment, and to equality and non- discrimination."[1] The UN has called for governments to end discrimination against intersex people:

Ban discrimination on the basis of sex characteristics, intersex traits or status, including in education, health care, employment, sports and access to public services, and consult intersex people and organizations when developing legislation and policies that impact their rights.[9]

A handful of jurisdictions so far provide explicit protection from discrimination for intersex people. South Africa was the first country to explicitly add intersex to legislation, as part of the attribute of 'sex'.[10] Australia was the first country to add an independent attribute, of 'intersex status'.[11] Malta was the first to adopt a broader framework of "sex characteristics", through legislation that also ended modifications to the sex characteristics of minors undertaken for social and cultural reasons.[12] Since then, Bosnia-Herzegovina has prohibited discrimination based on "sex characteristics",[13][14] and Greece has prohibited discrimination and hate crimes based on "sex characteristics" since 24 December 2015.[15][16]