Intersex people in Canada continue to face undue harm within medical institutions and Canada’s justice system. Many people with intersex characteristics experience particularly violent forms of systemic discrimination, prejudice, social exclusion, traumatic experiences with medicalization, and verbal and physical violence. One of the most pressing issues for intersex people is Canada’s on-going practice of intersex genital mutilation by medical doctors. The ongoing practice of non-consensual “sex normalizing surgeries,” which we refer to as intersex genital mutilation across this literature review below, represents a glaring failure on the part of the federal and provincial governments and medical regulatory bodies to protect the human rights of intersex people.

The majority of current advocacy work reduces intersex people and transgender people into the same category, or their needs are placed in opposition to one another. This ignores the fact that not every intersex person identifies as LGBTQ or 2S, nor will every intersex person want to align themselves with LGBTQI2S communities. We believe that Egale can play a role in protecting the rights and safety of all people marginalized based on their gender, sexuality, or sex characteristics in Canada and globally, and for this reason we pursue efforts to lift the voices of intersex advocates in Canada.

This literature review provides an overview of the current landscape of intersex rights and experiences in Canada by offering a summary of the following topics:

  • Canadian contexts for intersex rights
  • Systemic violence against intersex people
  • Intersex human rights on a global scale