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What issues do intersex people face in Malaysia?

By Queer Lapis | Nov 30, 2020

Do you know what the ‘I’ in LGBTIQ stands for?

It stands for Intersex.

They are people with bodies that do not fit normative binary notions of “male” or “female”. This includes reproductive organs, genitals, hormones, chromosomes. Intersex people are part of human diversity. People can be intersex due to various reasons, and most forms are natural and completely harmless.

The problem is that they are pathologised in Malaysia and in many parts of the world. Intersex people are often forced to undergo medically unnecessary, unconsented surgeries and procedures to “correct” their sex that can cause a lifetime of pain and disability.

A 2019 Suhakam research showed that Intersex people in Malaysia experience discrimination and rights violations other than unconsented surgeries. Research by doctors in 2017 show that a large number of intersex children have had unconsented genital surgery and face low quality of life and school success.

Intersex people do not need to be fixed. They can live healthy and happy lives if they are allowed to be intersex, and not shamed and forced into surgery. We need to expand our minds and realise that sex is a spectrum — there are many ways to be human that are beyond “male” and “female”.

Use your voice to amplify the voices of intersex people. We need to support the de-pathologisation of intersex people and ban medically unnecessary procedures and medication. Let’s give intersex children the chance to know their sex and gender and can consent to surgeries when they are old enough.

Begin by raising awareness on Intersex issues in Malaysia. Educate yourself, and share these infographics!