POC Talk Spotlight on Student Activism
Conversation with Jonathan Leggette on Campaigning for Intersex Rights
by Georgie Hicks
In this issue of POC Talk we will be talking with Jonathan Leggette, an Evergreen student activist doing work in the greater community in support of intersex rights and awareness! Hi Jonathan and welcome to POC Talk, I’m excited to have you here!
First things first, tell me about the organization you are working with? What kind of work do you do and what services are offered?
I am an InterAct Youth Member. InterAct Youth is a group of intersex advocates in their teens and twenties working to raise intersex awareness and create change through presentations and creating resources such as handouts, pamphlets and informational videos. InterAct’s work has been featured in places such as Faking it, Buzzfeed, and The Huffington post. The organization allows for youth to get together and discuss topics ranging from intersex rights to everyday experiences.
I hear you recently went on a trip to discuss intersex rights in Philadelphia, PA.
I attended the Creating Change Conference and was on an Intersex Youth Panel with 4 other intersex people!
Wow that’s awesome. So what was the experience of finding this group like?
This experience was truly life changing and empowering for me to become a more outward Intersex advocate and truly started to accept the intersex piece of my identity. I finally found a group of people that understand pieces of my story without me having to explain myself every sentence.
Is there something you would really like the general population understand about what it means to be intersex?
Being intersex and Trans happens yet, they are not synonyms for each other! Being trans is a gender identity and intersex has to do with biological sex.
What are the most common questions and assumptions you receive and how do you combat them?
I hear the most basic question which is what is intersex? And that is something I am always willing to define. For example a good definition of intersex is that 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. Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations. But honestly if you have any questions for me please just send me a message! I am pretty open or just come to my workshop.
Do you find there is a lot of ignorance around this subject?
There is just no visibility around the intersex topic at all. It is crazy even many people in the LGBTQIA community don’t know what the definition of Intersex is or how frequent it is.
What does that mean for you and your activism?
It means that I have an opening for ways to change things and make a difference in the amount of intersex education there is. Plus outwardly fight against IGM (Intersex Genital Mutilation) especially since I experienced it.
Thanks for taking the time to come talk to us! Do you have information for anyone who would want to get involved?
Please contact me whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, or in person and we can talk.