In recent years the acronym LGBT (and expanded forms like LGBTQ+ and LGBTQIA+) has become much more widely used, reflecting an increase in representation and acceptance in the public sphere. We’ve witnessed a slew of high-profile individuals come out publicly as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual and transgender. (Hello, Elliot Page and Jojo Siwa .) We’ve watched films and TV shows with LGBTQ+ themes break into the mainstream . And we’ve experienced a shift in society’s attitudes towards people whose sexual and gender identities don’t conform to traditional convention. Until now the L, G, B and T members of the community have enjoyed the lion’s share of the spotlight. There is, however, one group still to gain from more awareness, understanding and overall acceptance: the I, or intersex. From tomboy to teen supreme: Shiloh Jolie-Pitt’s 2021 transformation Intersex people are defined by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as individuals “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. In some cases, intersex traits are visible at birth while in others, they are not apparent until puberty. Some chromosomal intersex variations may not be physically apparent at all.” There is certainly more work to be done in eradicating outdated stigmas and discriminatory stereotypes surrounding intersex people, but fortunately there is an growing band of intersex heroes and activists inspiring acceptance, equality and love. 6 stunning models championing greater diversity in fashion River Gallo View this post on Instagram A post shared by River Gallo (@rivergallo) A model, activist and filmmaker all in one inspiring package, River Gallo is the GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) award-winning creator of short film Ponyboi . The film was presented as Gallo’s master’s degree thesis and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Who are YouTube’s top 10 highest-paid stars? Not only are they a supremely talented creative, they are an outspoken intersex activist having worked on several acclaimed campaigns with the likes of NYC Pride and Facebook. Small Luk Though doctors determined Luk to be male at birth, she now lives as an intersex woman and is renowned as the first Hong Kong native to publicly acknowledge their intersex status. After enduring years of suffering, both bullying and failed surgical procedures, Luk founded Beyond the Boundary – Knowing and Concerns Intersex, an organisation that works to raise public awareness, promote intersex rights and advocate for an end to forced genital surgery and conversion therapy, common practices that many intersex people have undergone around the world. Besides her trailblazing activism work, Luk is also a doctor of Chinese medicine and runs a holistic clinic in Hong Kong. Inside RuPaul and Michelle Visage’s million-dollar friendship Sean Saifa Wall View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sean Saifa Wall (@saifaemerges) Sean Saifa Wall is an outspoken American activist, speaker and advocate for intersex rights. He has written for Quartz and The Advocate and has been interviewed on various platforms including BuzzFeed and HuffPost Live. Wall also had a three year run as president of Interact Advocates for Intersex Youth (interACT), a non-profit that campaigns for the rights of those born with intersex traits. Meet Gottmik, the first transgender man on RuPaul’s Drag Race Pidgeon Pagonis View this post on Instagram A post shared by P I D G E O N (@pidgeon) Another American intersex activist, Pidgeon Pagonis is an award-winning published writer and artist. Like Wall, Pagonis joined interACT and has also opposed non-consensual surgeries aimed at “correcting” the sexual characteristics of intersex people, procedures that frequently involve severe genital mutilation. As part of their activism work, Pagonis has appeared in several publications including National Geographic , Teen Vogue and BuzzFeed. 5 LGBT prime ministers and other politicians Caster Semenya The South African Olympic champion rose to global prominence when, after her 2009 World Championship victory, news broke that she was made to undergo sex testing. And in 2019, the international Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) decided that athletes with “disorders of sex development” – which fall under intersex conditions according to the World Health Organization – must lower their testosterone to acceptable levels to be eligible to compete as women. Semenya was included in the ruling. In the years that followed, Semenya has been on the receiving end of international media attention inciting major discourse around the topic. Despite the controversy, Semenya has proven herself to be a formidable character, phenomenal sportswoman and a true inspiration to global intersex youth. 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