Public Statement by the African Intersex Movement
Updated: Feb 5, 2018
26 November 2017
Between the 24th and 26th November 2017, the First African Intersex Meeting took place in
Johannesburg, South Africa. This meeting brought together 22 intersex people representing
intersex organisations from 7 African countries.
We recall the principles of the Public Statement by the Third International Intersex Forum
(known as the Malta Declaration) and extend the demands aiming to end discrimination
against intersex people in Africa, to ensure the right of bodily integrity, physical autonomy
We affirm that intersex people are real, and we exist in all countries of Africa. As intersex
people in Africa, we live in a society that perpetuates violence and killings of intersex people
by cultural, religious, traditional and medical beliefs and practices. Therefore, we must be
supported to be the drivers of social, political and legislative changes that concern us.
● To put an end to infanticide and killings of intersex people led by traditional and
● To put an end to mutilating and ‘normalising’ practices such as genital surgeries,
psychological and other medical treatments through legislative and other means
(such as education, policy and treatment protocol change). Intersex people must be
empowered to make their own decisions affecting their own bodily integrity, physical
autonomy and self-determination.
● To include intersex education in antenatal counselling and support.
● To put an end to non-consensual sterilisation of intersex people.
● To depathologise variations in sex characteristics in medical practices, guidelines,
protocols and classifications, such as the World Health Organization’s International
Classification of Diseases.
● To ensure that sex or gender classifications are amendable through a simple
administrative procedure at the request of the individuals concerned. All adults and
capable minors should be able to choose between female (F), male (M), intersex or
multiple options. In the future, sex or gender should not be a category on birth
certificates or identification documents for anybody.
● To raise awareness around intersex issues and the rights of intersex people in
communities and society at large.
● To create and facilitate supportive, safe and celebratory environments for intersex
people, their families and surroundings.
● To ensure that intersex people have the right to full information and access to their
own medical records and history.
● To ensure that all professionals and healthcare providers that have a specific role to
play in intersex people’s well-being are adequately trained to provide quality services.
● To acknowledge the suffering and injustice caused to intersex people
● To build intersex anti-discrimination legislation in addition to other grounds, and to
ensure protection against intersectional discrimination.
● To ensure the provision of all human rights and citizenship rights to intersex people,
including the right to marry and form a family.
● To ensure that intersex people are able to participate in competitive sport, at all
levels, in accordance with their legal sex. Intersex athletes who have been humiliated
or stripped of their titles should receive reparation and reinstatement.
● To recognise that medicalization and stigmatisation of intersex people result in
significant trauma and mental health concerns.
● In view of ensuring the bodily integrity and well-being of intersex people, autonomous
non-pathologising psycho-social and peer support be available to intersex people
throughout their life (as self-required), as well as to parents and/or care providers.
In view of the above the African Intersex Movement calls on:
1. National governments to address the concerns raised by the African Intersex
Movement and draw adequate solutions in direct collaboration with intersex
representatives and organisations.
2. Traditional and religious leaders to stop harmful cultural practices, such as
tradition-led mutilations and killings of intersex people.
3. National, regional and international human rights institutions to take on board, and
provide visibility to intersex issues in their work.
4. Community leaders to engage in intersex education to dispel misconceptions and
stigma around intersex people.
5. Human rights organisations to contribute to build bridges with intersex organisations
and build a basis for mutual support and meaningful engagement. This should be
done in a spirit of collaboration and no-one should instrumentalise intersex issues as
a means for other ends.
6. Funders to engage with intersex organisations and support them in the struggle for
visibility, increase their capacity, the building of knowledge and the affirmation of their