Intersex People


Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. Experts estimate that up to 1.7 percent of the population are born with intersex traits.

In recent years, awareness of intersex people, and recognition of the specific human rights abuses that they face, has grown, thanks to the work of intersex human rights defenders.

Human rights abuses against intersex people include, but are not limited to:

  • infanticide
  • forced and coercive medical interventions
  • discrimination in education, sport, employment and other services
  • lack of access to justice and remedies

To this end, there have been various initiatives by our Office, UN agencies and regional human rights mechanisms including: the Intersex Expert meeting held in 2015, public education campaigns by UN free and Equal on Intersex Awareness in 2015 and the Joint Statement by UN and regional human rights mechanisms in 2016.

Background Note: Intersex human rights abuses

Additionally, in 2019 OHCHR published a background note that focuses on the specific human rights violations facing Intersex people.

This publication highlights the obligations of States, challenges and advances towards protecting human rights of Intersex people.

See the Background Note on Human Rights Violations against Intersex People (2019)