DOWNTOWN — Advocates for intersex people will “take over” an L train Friday.
The takeover will happen in honor of Intersex Awareness Day. Activists will meet Downtown, get onto an L train car and speak to riders about intersex people and the challenges they face, like how they can be forced to undergo sex changes as babies.
Intersex people have sexual characteristics that “do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies,” according to the Free and Equal Intersex Fact Sheet.
About 1.7 percent of the population fits under the intersex umbrella, meaning they were born with gonads, chromosomes or other traits which aren’t clearly male or female, or are present in both. Being intersex is about as common as being born with red hair, according to studies.
Still, the medical field often intervenes with “medically unnecessary” surgeries when a child is born with a sex variation, intersex advocates say.
“We decided we wanted to escalate and do something different,” said Pidgeon Pagonis, co-founder of the Intersex Justice Project and one of the people organizing the train takeover.
The Intersex Justice Project typically protests outside Lurie Children’s Hospital, but the train takeover will enable organizers to meet with more people and spread awareness of what intersex is, Pagonis said.
Pagonis and other activists will get onto a train car and read off a script about what happens to intersex people in local hospitals. They’ll also chant and give riders pamphlets that explain what happens to intersex people.
The advocates will stay in one train car for about two hours, repeating their script and chants for several hours as riders get on and off.
Pagonis asked those who want to participate to contact the Intersex Justice Project for the time and place where advocates will meet up for the takeover. The organization can be contacted on Twitter.