interACT [formerly known as Advocates for Informed Choice (AIC)] was founded by attorney Anne Tamar-Mattis with an Equal Justice Works fellowship in 2006, and continued with an Echoing Green fellowship in 2008 with a focused mission of ending harmful medical interventions on intersex children. We began our operations with a National Roundtable, including doctors, lawyers, mental health experts, and leaders of many different intersex organizations to establish our goals.
When interACT was founded (formerly AIC), other organizations already existed that focused on peer support for parents and/or intersex adults, on political activism and awareness-building, on promoting research, and on advocacy in the medical community. Awareness of the legal questions surrounding children with intersex traits was beginning to grow, but no organization had undertaken legal advocacy on behalf of these children.
Recognizing the importance and power of youth advocates, and with seed money from the Ms. Foundation in 2011, interACT started “inter/ACT”, a youth-led advocacy program for intersex teens and twenty-somethings to come together, share experiences and raise intersex awareness. In 2013, the program received a multi year grant from Liberty Hill Foundation’s Queer Youth Fund and hired its first part-time Youth Coordinator. Very quickly the group began to have an impact on social media and even television growing into the first successful intersex youth advocacy group in the world.
In 2014 Kimberly Zieselman, an intersex woman, lawyer and nonprofit professional, assumed the role of Executive Director (while former ED and founder Anne Tamar-Mattis happily shifted her full time focus to legal advocacy as Legal Director). With a commitment to both youth voices and increasing intersex visibility the organization embarked on a strategic planning process that was completed in 2015.
The 2015 strategic plan outlined a vision for moving forward over the next 3-5 years with an emphasis on cautious growth, youth leadership development, awareness raising and a solid commitment to the core mission of protecting the legal and human rights of children born with intersex traits.
Key strategies were identified and include:
- Maintaining and growing current programs
- Building international advocacy capacity
- Advancing affirming language
- Developing diverse leadership reflective of our community
- Develop and nurture intersex youth advocates
- Raise intersex awareness and visibility
- Develop plans focused on healing trauma
In 2016 interACT announced its new name – a name developed by our young leaders and one that both recognizes and honors intersex youth voices which are at the heart and soul of our mission. Today, with both a new name and website, interACT is optimistically heading into the future!
From the very beginning, InterACT has recognized that with so much at stake for the individuals and families involved, we must consider not only medical outcomes, but also the civil and human rights of children born with intersex traits. As always, interACT remains committed to advancing this discussion with a sense of respect and compassion for the children, parents, doctors and intersex adults involved.