We build women’s collective power in the U.S.

October 26, 2020

Ms. Foundation for Women on Intersex Awareness Day

Ms. Foundation for Women on Intersex Awareness Day

NEW YORK (October 26, 2020) – Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa C. Younger released the following statement on Intersex Awareness Day:

“Today we recognize Intersex Awareness Day which marks the anniversary of the first public demonstration in 1996 by intersex people in the United States. Being intersex means a person was born with differences in sex traits or reproductive anatomy that don’t fit the traditional boxes of ‘male’ or ‘female.’ This is a naturally-occurring variation in humans, and it isn’t a medical problem — therefore, interventions (like surgeries or hormone therapy) on children usually aren’t medically necessary and are often deemed as human rights violations. Though it’s difficult to know exactly how many people are intersex, it’s more common than most realize with estimates suggesting that about 1-2 in 100 people are born intersex in this country.”

“The intersex community is diverse and beautiful, and it is imperative that we recognize the universal right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. As a feminist organization, we believe that support for intersex people is critical in the collective fight for gender equity and equality for all.

“This work is not new, but we are proud that it is now coming to the forefront and that the voices of the intersex community are being heard. This year, we are drawing inspiration from some of the transformative work of intersex activists and advocates such as Pidgeon Pagonis, co-founder of the Intersex Justice Project, who has been a key voice in opposing surgeries on intersex children. 

“Just a few months ago, after years of performing non-consensual surgeries on intersex children, many of whom too young to understand what is happening to their bodies or why, Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago – where Pagonis was operated on at just one year old – announced that they will end the surgeries. Following this decision, Boston Children’s Hospital also announced that it will no longer perform two types of intersex surgery on children. Pagonis has shared that these wins will hopefully pressure other hospitals to follow suit, but we know that there is still work to be done. 

“Let’s be clear – bodily autonomy starts at birth. The mutilation of infant bodies is never the answer. The Ms. Foundation for Women supports the intersex community, and calls on all feminist organizations who believe in inclusion to join us as we fully and honestly support the right for all.”

Ms. Foundation spokespeople are available for interviews by phone or video from NYC. To schedule, please contact Sunshine Sachs at [email protected].


For over 45 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The Ms. Foundation invests in and strengthens the capacity of women-led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in women’s lives. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world where every person’s worth and dignity are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.