"I love animals, they do not judge me"

Acceptance by others – accepting yourself

"I would love to love and accept my body"

For an intersex newborn the acceptance by others, in this case the parents and its family, is crucial on a very substantial level: The pathologization of intersex traits gives the impression to parents there is something wrong with the anatomy of their child, which makes it hard for the parents to accept their intersex child as it is. At the same time the medical perspective assumes that parents are not able to embrace their intersex child and form a positive child-parent relationship before its bodily appearance is "normalized" through medical treatments such as invasive and dangerous genital surgeries.

Studies show that non-medicalizing social or peer councelling changes or even breaks this vicious circle, and a higher percentage of parents would abstain from surgical treatments for their child. In most cases parents are unaware of the long-term consequences of these medical interventions for their child and are not provided access to (non-medical) alternatives or the information by intersex-led peer groups from a human rights perspective.

The lack of acceptance of intersex people leads also to discrimination, trauma and difficulities at the work place and in education

Watch this video by the United Nations' Free & Equal Campaign with a positive message to new parents with an intersex child: "Intersex Children are perfect just as they are"

UN Free & Equal Fact Sheet:

"I want my brother to accept me but I feel that too many years have passed and it might not happen"

For many intersex people self-acceptance is an important aspect and the consequences of a lack of self-acceptance can include isolation, depression and suicidality.

It can be a long and painful process of unlearning the burdens of secrecy, shame and stigma, and liberating oneself from pathologizing perspectives. For intersex people this can mean to embrace and value their bodies as it naturally was or is. For many it also involves to cope with the loss of their bodily integrity and the medical elimination of their intersex traits and functionality – and living with the consequences and resulting health concerns.

"As a kid I loved going to swim, now I never go to swim in public pools, because I don’t feel comfortable there as an intersex person. I miss swimming very much."

Another level of acceptance is recognition by society that is actively protecting, depathologizing, respecting, embracing and celebrating intersex persons or people born with variations of sex characteristics. This is what the global human-rights-based intersex movement calls for.

"I'm proud of accepting myself, my body, overcoming of my psychological problems and I even can support others"

Learn more of the demands of the global intersex movement formulated in the Malta Declaration