In the midst of an heightened conversation about gender and sexuality in the United States, the LGBTQ Center aims to spread knowledge and awareness about intersex people.
On Thursday, the UNC LGBTQ Center will be celebrating intersex solidarity in the Pit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will include information on what it means to be intersex, as well as on the intersex rights movement.
“People assume that there are two and only two genders, even if they recognize trans identities they often don’t realize that there is so much variability in the human body,” said Terri Phoenix, director of the LGBTQ Center.
Phoenix emphasized that this event is geared toward increasing visibility, community and education. This event will be held in correspondence with the International Intersex Day of Remembrance, an event that began in 2005.
“Intersex people are here and we need to recognize and acknowledge and celebrate that they are here,” Phoenix said.
The LGBTQ Center defines intersex people as persons who develop or have congenital biological sex characteristics that do not fall under what is considered to be typical for a male or a female.
“Just learning about people who don’t fit a definition of cis/straight, it’s impossible through the school system,” first-year Ndobe Foletia said.
LGBTQ Center Administrative Support Specialist Mariel Eaves said this uncertainty often leads to people being unsure of how to address those who identify as intersex and can even cause people who are intersex to face difficulty in coming out.
“(College) is a place where people come to learn about themselves, and a lot of intersex people don’t know they are intersex,” Eaves said. "Talking or hearing about it in an educational format might let them know something either their doctors or parents didn’t tell or know to tell them."
Apart from learning more about intersex people, attending this event will demonstrate unity for the intersex community, and the Chapel Hill community as a whole.
“It’s important for us to show solidarity so they know there are people are around that believe they have autonomy over their own bodies,” Eaves said.
The group believes fostering acceptance and increasing understanding of LGBTQ+ identities is crucial to establishing an open and considerate community on campus.
“It’s just really important to have people learn about people who are intersex and also to just show support,” Foletia said.
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