"I always wanted to be a captain on a big ship. I had to leave school where I was trying to become one because I was bullied there"

Work & Education

The outcomes of the FRA LGBTI Survey 2019 show for the first time statistical data on the living situation of intersex people in Europe. In the areas of discrimination, violence, harassment, legal recognition, financial difficulties and poverty, difficulties in education, at the job place, etc. the data shows that intersex persons belong to the group most affected and marginalized within the LGBTI communities.

A specifically vulnerable group are intersex youth between 15-17 years of age showing that bullying and discrimination while at school or university, even 54% of the intersex respondents felt discriminated against by school/university personnel.

Impacts of medicalisation

Due to hospitalisation or trauma-related mental health problems, intersex people may need to take time off. Gaps in their education or employment history might be difficult to explain to employers. There is a reportedly higher risk of poverty due to lack of education as a result of pathologisation and related trauma.

Employee medical checks can be extremely difficult for intersex people, especially when the medical practitioner in charge is not educated about the existence of intersex individuals or considers intersex people to have a „disorder of sex development“. This is often exacerbated by trauma associated with having to undergo a medical examination.

"I'm proud of my PhD because I managed to develop and prove a theory against strong opposition"

Employment discrimination

Intersex people often face employment discrimination on the grounds of their gender expression, stature or other bodily appearances that do not conform with the female or male norm.

Once they secure employment, intersex people have reported intrusive curiosity about their bodies from their co-workers, or, when they opened up, disbelief and rejection. Just as in education, the strain of discrimination and stigmatisation may lead to higher absence rates, increasing the risk of intersex people losing their jobs.

Some intersex people have obtained a disability status due to the physical impairments they have as a result of unconsented surgeries and other medical interventions. Depending on the country, this status can offer some protection; however, it can also come at the cost of additional discrimination and stigma as a person with disabilities.

"Sometimes I feel that I never had the privilege to focus on one thing or job in life, since the need to do intersex activism took a lot of time and energy"

Income struggles

The FRA LGBTI Survey showed that of those intersex respondents in a paid job struggled to make ends meet: 27% with some difficulty, 12% with difficulty and 12% with great difficulty. It also showed that a higher (upper secondary or tertiary) education did not make much of a difference for the struggle to making ends meet when compared to those with a lower secondary education or less.

Data on Intersex Youth

If you want to learn more about the outcomes of the FRA LGBTI Survey 2019 and what intersex youth from the age of 15 - 17 experience in the educational setting please take a look at the infographics we created on the specific findings on the situation for intersex people in Europe: