On Thursday 18 October, the University of Westminster, in partnership with Amnesty International’s LGBTI Network, celebrated Intersex Awareness Day, which takes place annually on 26 October, hosting a panel of intersex activists and allies.

The event explored what it means to be ‘Intersex’ and saw a preview of BBC documentary ‘The Intersex Diaries’, which follows Intersex campaigner and organiser of the event, Anick, through a year of major surgeries and self-acceptance.

There was also a panel discussion where speakers then shared their stories and experience on what it is like to exist beyond the binary and how guests can become allies. Speakers and attendees were then invited to network.

Panelists attending included documentary photographer and non-fiction storyteller, Magda Rakita, Valentino Vecchietti, an intersex human rights consultant, activist, writer and public speaker, Abigail Tartellin, award-winning author of three novels, including Golden Boy, a coming of age novel about an intersex teenager, Anick, University of Westminster Law graduate and presenter The Intersex Diaries and founder of Intersex Advocates and Friends, and Lui Asquith, Lawyer for Mermaids Charity and Vice Chair of the Amnesty International UK LGBTI Network, who chaired the panel.

The event generated positive feedback and overwhelming reactions from the public. One attendee said: “Super interesting event with brilliant speakers... I learnt a lot about how to be an ally to intersex people/people with variations of sex characteristics.”

Another said: “Tonight’s Intersex Awareness Event was awesome! Great speakers, a panel on being an intersex ally, and a preview of Anick's documentary ‘The Intersex Diaries' which is going to be all kinds of amazing!”

Intersex awareness event

The University of Westminster’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Peter Bonfield attended the event and said: “I was very pleased that we hosted the Intersex Awareness event at our Regent Street Campus and very proud of the leading role my colleague Anick took in it.” 

Talking about the event and his collaborative documentary, Anick said: “It was an incredible atmosphere at the University of Westminster’s first Intersex Awareness Event and I was so privileged to be able to help others learn about how to be an intersex ally and to show a preview of my film The Intersex Diaries. The event was open to the public and I found out that people had attended from Finland too. It feels wonderful having one of the most important parts of my identity being supported.”

“Trying to find someone I could trust that was willing to tell my story in a non-sensationalist way has proved difficult over the years. I have always been determined not to make myself, or other intersex people, be victimised and misrepresented for entertainment.

“Through the vision of Emily Dicks and Geej Ower, I was able to completely change my life. I got to work with Westminster Film alumnus Jack Mealing and I met intersex people from around the world and even helped to organise the first march for Pride in London. My film is all about the incredible journey I have had over the past year. From very personal video diaries and surgeries to heartbreak and friendship. It is a unique exploration of a point in my life that I can’t wait to share.”

‘Intersex’ is an umbrella term used to describe a person born with biological sex characteristics that do not fit the traditional male or female binary. While intersex affects 1.7 per cent of the global population, a significant lack of support, information and legal rights in the area has been noticed.

Watch ‘The Intersex Diaries’ series on BBC iPlayer.

The series is also available on YouTube.

Cover picture: From left to right: Valentino Vecchietti, Lui Asquith, Anick, Magda Rakita and Abigail Tarttelin

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