What is Intersex Awareness Day?

October 26, 1996 marks the anniversary of the first public demonstration by intersex people in the United States. Members of the now defunct Intersex Society of North America and their allies arrived in Boston, MA at the annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics. They demonstrated and shared their pain in a very public way, denouncing non-consensual infant genital surgeries and demanding the medical industry take notice. Doctors dismissed the activists as a vocal minority in a 1997 New York Times article covering the intersex action. The tides are slowly changing.

TODAY, intersex people and our allies are following in their footsteps, organizing in cities around the U.S., and around the world. 

In 2018, LGBT advocacy group Voices 4, intersex supermodel Hanne Gaby Odiele, Intersex Justice Project,  and interACT teamed up in New York City to protest Dr. Dix Poppas, a leader in performing clitoral surgeries on minors, who came under fire for using vibrators on young intersex children to test his surgical results. Poppas faced no discipline and still practices at Cornell. In August 2018, he quoted that he “should have videotaped” the tests. Intersex Justice Project led their third action at Lurie Children’s in Chicago, calling for the institution to #EndIntersexSurgery. In 2020, the institution finally issued an apology.

Read more about the day’s history from Besty Driver, an early openly intersex elected official in the U.S.

Read our FAQ page for more information about intersex basics. And, here’s a handy list of 26 things you can do for Intersex Awareness Day.

Intersex Awareness Day 2022

This year our allies can educate the world on intersex lives and needs!
Access our full social media toolkit of #BornBeyondBoxes graphics  & sample tweets here.


Intersex Awareness Day
What Is Intersex?
Intersex Awareness Day History
Show me the toolkit!

Intersex Variations Glossary

A new resource free to download or print that offers people-centered definitions of intersex variations free from stigma and unnecessary gendering.


Download the glossary

Intersex Awareness Day: A Demonstration that Inspired a Movement

interACT member Marissa tells a short history of Intersex Awareness Day and the movement that brought us to 2022.

“IAD is a day to recognize the strength and diversity of human experience and biology. It’s not new – it actually marks an event that took place 26 years in the past. The celebration of Intersex Awareness Day was created by the intersex activists Emi Koyama and Betsy Driver to commemorate several individuals’ brave protest 26 years ago…”

Talkin’ Bout My Variation