We recently spoke to Piper K of Intersex London Canada about how they are working to create a welcoming, safe, and non-pathologizing community for all Intersex Individuals and their families through support, education, and advocacy.
What does your organization do?
Intersex London Canada is the first intersex-led grassroots organization in Canada.
The aim is to provide education, support, and advocacy to build a community for Intersex Individuals and intersex folks who are part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and their families. Intersex people could have different hormonal (e.g. Women with higher testosterone), anatomical (e.g. males have breast or women having facial hair) and or chromosomal (xxy, xo,xy-female) and approximately, up to 5% of the global population can be intersex. Biological sex is not binary but more diverse than male/female. By offering educational talks to organizations/groups (both locally and across the country), we have provided a voice to learn about a not well-known group and the barriers intersex people face.
If you could get Canadians to understand one thing about your work, what would it be?
It is crucial that the wider community needs to work together to help improve intersex lives as it will benefit everyone from improving access to healthcare to feeling less isolated.
What are some unique challenges that you have faced in your work? What are you doing to overcome them?
One of the most significant challenges we have faced has been finding volunteers to help support our organization’s work. Grassroots organizations face many barriers to getting support from other organizations because there are government rules such as grassroots organizations cannot open a bank account because you must be a non-profit organization. Right now, I am using my own money and time to help run Intersex London Canada. By setting up meetings with other organizations to see if we can break barriers to get support and create social media posts looking for volunteers.
To get involved and volunteer with Intersex London Canada please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How has the pandemic impacted your work?
Just before COVID-19, we just got a physical space to host a peer support group. When the pandemic hit we could no longer gain access to the space. Many intersex people are dealing with trauma-related the healthcare system performing non-consensual procedures to make their appearance conform to binary sex stereotypes. Intersex people who are dealing with trauma prefer to meet in person as they find online meets can be triggering for them. We are trying to find ways to meet in person once it is safe to do so.
What keeps you going? Are there any hopeful stories that you can share with us?
The reason I am involved with Intersex London Canada is having a personal connection with the community and having strong core beliefs that I need to create change. I draw support through social on what intersex youth are doing in the USA and seeing what one person can achieve is incredible and this helps me move forward to help others.
The Equal Futures Network acknowledges that Indigenous people are the traditional guardians of Turtle Island, on the land also known as Canada