#IrelandTurnsPurple campaign launched to mark International Intersex Solidarity Day

The Rock of Cashel, Dublin City Hall, Kilkenny Castle and Cork City Hall are among the buildings lighting up purple to raise awareness

Exterior shot of Mansion House up-lit in Purple to mark International Intersex Solidarity Day

Historic landmarks, government buildings and educational institutions across the island of Ireland will be lighting up purple on November 8th to mark International Intersex Solidarity Day. Intersex people are born with bodies that do not fit the typical definitions of male or female. 

According to the United Nations (UN), around 1.7% of the global population are intersex and in many countries, intersex children are subjected to unnecessary surgery and treatment to try to make their bodies appear more male or female, causing terrible physical, psychological and emotional pain and ultimately, violating their human rights.

Announcing the news on Intersex Awareness Day October 26, Dr Tanya Ní Mhuirthile, DCU School of Law & Government, and lead researcher at the Intersex Mapping Study highlighted the significance of organisations across Ireland publicly committing their support to raise awareness of intersex.

The #IrelandTurnsPurple campaign co-ordinated by the Intersex Mapping Study at Dublin City University in association with Intersex Ireland has been launched to raise awareness of and show support for the intersex community, both in Ireland and across the globe.

Now in its second year, the campaign is supported by the Minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), Patrick O’Donovan, TD. Historic landmarks and buildings such as the Rock of Cashel, Dublin’s Mansion House, Cork City Hall, King John’s Castle, Limerick, Rathfarnham Castle, Kilkenny Castle, Dublin City Hall, Liberty Hall and the Phoenix Monument are on a list of over 30 buildings nationwide turning purple.

Dublin City University, University College Cork and the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) are among the higher education institutions lighting up in purple while trade union organisation SIPTU and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have also pledged their support.

Dr Tanya Ní Mhuirthile, DCU School of Law & Government, and lead researcher at the Intersex Mapping Study highlighted the significance of organisations across Ireland publicly committing their support to raise awareness of intersex.

Dr Tanya Ní Mhuirthile said:

“For too long intersex people have been invisible in Ireland and abroad. This invisibility has come at a significant cost for our intersex family, friends and fellow citizens. We invite everyone to join our #IrelandTurnsPurple campaign in a powerful show of solidarity and support with the intersex community in Ireland – north and south – and around the world on November 8th. This represents an important step towards ending the secrecy, silence, shame and stigma which surrounds intersex.”

The President of Dublin City University, Professor Daire Keogh said,

“#IrelandTurnsPurple is an important and timely campaign, as it raises awareness about the experience of a significant but largely hidden group of people in Irish society. I hope that by highlighting the challenges that intersex people face, this initiative helps to open a much-needed dialogue and encourages us to embracedifference.”

Sara Philips, Chair of Intersex Ireland said:

“International Intersex Day of Solidarity marks an opportunity to start a long-overdue conversation about the way individuals with intersex variations are treated in Ireland. It is a discussion that has never been had here. Society needs to wake up and recognise that we do not all fit neatly into the binary. Intersex Ireland provides support, education and advocates for our human rights and bodily autonomy.”

The #IrelandTurnsPurple campaign forms an important part of the work of the Intersex Mapping Study at DCU. The study was launched in July 2019 and is funded by the Irish Research Council.

It examines the life experiences of intersex people such as their interaction with the healthcare system, education, employment and their overall day to day life. The project also considers the perspectives of health care professionals regarding intersex and it analyses Irish legislation to understand if it offers the same protection to intersex people compared to the non-intersex population

Organisations that wish to pledge support to the #IrelandTurnsPurple campaign can contact the Intersex Mapping Project by email to [email protected]

Follow the Intersex Mapping Project at DCU online here.

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