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Intersex for Workplaces

At a time where many workplaces have visible pride initiatives and networks, it’s very easy to gloss over what the I in LGBTIQ+ means. It is a complicated issue to navigate and one that is often misunderstood. It is very important to recognise that supporting LGBTQ+ people and supporting Intersex people are very different things.

Intersex people have their own distinct pride flag which is yellow with a purple circle. While some intersex people may identify with the “rainbow” pride flag, the intersex flag has its own unique meaning and is inclusive of intersex people who do not identify as a part of the the rainbow community. Whilst some intersex people might have an LGBTQ identity, not all do, so it is important to consider displaying the intersex pride flag alongside the rainbow pride flag where possible. The Darlington Statement is an important document for all organisations to be familiar with and implementing and enforcing this is a meaningful demonstration of support for intersex rights and the work of activists.

The best way to support intersex people within the workplace is to have inclusive policies. It should not be necessary for intersex people to disclose their status to their employer in order for this to be achieved. Intersex variation is much more common than people realise, so it is therefore important to create an intersex-inclusive work environment. Many more people will benefit from such initiatives than may be explicitly apparent.

Where an employee does disclose their intersex status to the employer, it should be assumed confidential. Workplace discrimination and malicious gossip can be incredibly damaging and traumatic and create a very hostile environment for any one exposed to such behaviours. Such behaviours may include questioning the gender of the intersex person, asking inappropriate questions or using inappropriate terminology to refer to the person.

Intersex people have two important days of visibility: Intersex Awareness Day (October 26th) and Intersex Day of Solidarity (November 8th). Ensuring your office is aware of and understanding of the significance of these days will help create an intersex-inclusive working environment and help lift the stigma attached to intersex people. There are many ways workplaces could support these events, such as screening documentaries made by intersex people, reaching out to people with lived experience, or even facilitating fundraisers for intersex-focused non-profit organisations.

Key Points

  • Make sure workplace pride and diversity initiatives are visibly inclusive of intersex people in meaningful ways.
  • Review policies to ensure workplaces are inclusive for intersex people and that best practice guidelines are followed.
  • Support events that focus on intersex visibility and education, such as Intersex Awareness Day and Intersex Day of Solidarity.
  • Organisations can familiarise their workers with important documents such as the Darlington Statement.