Srishti Madurai will be organising a National Conference on Intersex Human Rights in India on 22 December 2019 at India Habitat Centre, Delhi. Over four thematic sessions, the conference will feature leading Intersex activists from India and around the world, senior representatives from the government, medical professionals and legal experts.

The conference will kick off with a Keynote Address from Dr. Anuradha Udumudi- renowned Medical Geneticist and Founder of GeneTech- India’s first genetic lab. The perspective of medical geneticists is crucial to understand the process of sex development in Intersex persons. Drawing from her extensive work on genetic disorders, Dr. Udumudi will be making a case for greater inclusion of genetic perspective in addressing the health needs of intersex persons. Later in the conference, senior medical professionals will also share their perspective on this issue.

This conference is posited to be a major milestone in the journey of intersex human rights movement in India. Of late, there have been few positive developments such as the Madras High Court judgment of April 2019 which banned unnecessary medical surgeries on intersex children and the subsequent government order of the Tamil Nadu government which implemented the directions in the state. Tamil Nadu has become the first state in India to have given normative effect to the demand for stronger legal protection of rights of intersex children in India. To arrive at this ruling, the Court heavily relied on the work of Intersex activists Gopi Shankar, Executive Director-Srishti Madurai. Hon’ble Mr. Justice G.R. Swaminathan who delivered the momentous Madras High Court judgment will be giving a Special Address in the conference with regard to the constitutional perspective on the concept of sex, gender and sexual orientation.

The foremost aim of the national level conference is to advocate for a nation-wide comprehensive law for better protection of intersex human rights. In addition to discussing the main agenda for a nationwide ban on surgeries, the presentation topics will focus on the welfare needs of intersex persons, requirement of a strong anti-discrimination law and also discuss the recently enacted Transgender Persons Act, 2019.

The major highlight of the conference is the session which is solely focussed on the lives of intersex persons in India and abroad. Champion athlete and winner of 11 international medals for India- Santhi Soundarajan will be sharing her experience in the conference. Large number of Intersex persons from across the country are expected to participate in the conference. Further, the conference also features presentations from Intersex activists from Nepal, Philippines, Australia and Malta.

The overall theme of the conference is to examine the positive developments in India and around the world with respect to development of legal norms for protection of human rights of intersex persons. The deliberations of the conference will be published by Srishti Madurai and will be made available online.

A documentary on the life of Anjali Gopalan, Founder-Naz Foundation will also be screened in the conference. Anjali Gopalan is a Board Member of Srishti Madurai. During the conference, an award ceremony is also being organised. Ms. Priya Menon, Journalist-Times of India will be given the Second Anjali Gopalan Srishti Madurai Social Justice Journalism Award for highlighting the cause of intersex persons. Dr. Pragati Singh, Founder-Indian Aces will be given the Anjali Gopalan Social Justice Award for giving visibility to asexuality in India.

Srishti Madurai was established on 2nd September 2011 by Gopi Shankar in Madurai as the first Intersex, Genderqueer & LGBTQA+ student volunteer group designed to target specifically to the problems of queer people in non-metro cities of Tamil Nadu. Apart from creating awareness, Srishti also started to educate both the community and the public about Gender Politics and issues regarding Sex, Gender & Sexuality. In 2019, Srishti Madurai is celebrating nine years of its journey in creating a space for Genderqueer, Intersex and LGBTQA+ Indians in the public discourse.

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