Programs of OII Europe
Areas of work
Our work includes several areas and activities we sorted under the following programs: policy and advocacy, awareness raising, community & capacity building, refugees and asylum seekers, and lastly, strategic litigation.
You can jump directly to each section via the table of contents menu on this page and find out more details.
Policy & Advocacy Activities
OII Europe’s policy work includes advocating on intersex issues and human rights with the European Commission, with the SOGI Unit of the CoE, or with the European Focal Point Network Meeting, among others. We have authored several submissions, often in collaboration with allies and other NGOs, addressed to many institutions and bodies, including national governments, the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the United Nations or the European Court of Human Rights.
For an overview of intersex relevant areas and issues check our short list of issues here:
Raising awareness is one of OII Europe’s key measures to inform policy makers, stakeholders, professionals, media and the general public about the situation of intersex people living in Europe. Our goal is twofold: to foster human rights-based language and terminology that is depathologizing, destigmatising, empowering, appreciative, affirmative and developed by the intersex community and to make intersex people in Europe more aware of their human rights.
In our continuous work we transform existing, comprehensive OII Europe resources into shorter, topic-specific awareness raising material.
One example is our Interex Awareness Weeks-campaign of 2020: “Intersex Lives”. This campaign was based on a workshop during our OII Europe Community Event in Zagreb 2019, where the intersex community collected and shared short personal quotes of their dreams, hopes and fears: What makes us proud? What gives us joy? Many of the topics raised in those personal quotes will sound familiar, other quotes are more directly related to the life situation of intersex persons – a selection of issues that are highlighted in focus points on the campaign website are: health, trauma, discrimination, work & education and acceptance.
Translation of Resources
Making our resources available in multiple languages
OII Europe is dedicated to making its policy work and empowering material available to intersex communities who can use it for their advocacy work across the Council of Europe region. In the light of limited funding for intersex organisations it is crucial to share materials among intersex activists and organisations. In order to make the content available in more languages we work with translators from the intersex community to ensure the quality of terminologies and a human rights based and depathologizing approach and sensitivity.
Community & Capacity Building
Our community building activities include creating safe spaces for intersex people and their families to connect and exchange information and strategies with peers from across Europe, e.g. through providing scholarships for the annual OII Europe Community Event & Conference and offering closed and lively online social media groups; supporting OII Europe members in their outreach to intersex people and their families; strengthening their skills in the area of community building through trainings, including on out-reach strategies, data protection and personal safety; having national intersex activists participate in OII Europe awareness raising campaigns and creation of information material as a means to give them and their families a voice, and, through that, create role models for intersex indiviuals and their families, and make societal discrimination and other human rights violations they suffer from visible across Europe.
Project RISE! Capacity Building of the European Intersex Movement
With this program we are building the capacity of the European intersex movement, providing low-threshold and easily accessible online information on intersex topics and increasing intersex visibility and awareness about intersex as a social issue rather than a medical issue.
Community Event & Public Conference
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 OII Europe Online Community Event and Conference for the first time was held completely online. Under the theme of “Staying Connected” we were delighted to once again be surrounded by our amazing community during the 3-day event consisting of a one-day public conference and a two-day closed community event. Over 94 participants registered for the event, for many this being their first ever Community event.
We hope to be able to return to our previous format of in-person meetings very soon again, as they are especially important to the intersex community to be able to meet, exchange and relax with peers, something that is still very rare among the every-day-lifes of intersex people and in local contexts.
Refugees & Asylum Seekers
Intersex people are particularly vulnerable in the asylum-seeking process. OII Europe sees an urgent need in increasing the professional capacities of organisations working with intersex asylum seekers and has therefore launched a new “OII Europe Intersex Refugees and Asylum Seekers Project” in 2020.
We started the “OII Europe Intersex Refugees and Asylum Seekers Project” with collecting positive desicions from intersex asylum seekers and performing an in-depth analysis of their positive decisions. Advancing in our project we conducted interviews with LGBTIQ organisations that are working with LGBTIQ asylum seekers as well as with legal experts. Doing so, we collected information on the needs of LGBTIQ organisations in working with intersex asylum seekers. What do they need in order to enhance their knowledge on intersex issues in the context of the asylum seeking process and therefore improve their capacities in working with intersex asylum seekers? The aim of this project is to create a toolkit for all professionals working with asylum seekers, which shall help them to identify and meet the needs of intersex asylum seekers.
A first overview about the project and an analysis of positive decisions of intersex asylum seekers was given at the COC Netherland Asylum Seeker Conference. OII Europe also participated at the Asylum Conference by EASO, an agency of the European Union which acts as a centre of expertise on asylum and provides evidence-based input for EU policymaking and legislation. At the EASO Asylum Conference OII Europe held a workshop on intersex asylum issues.
Check also our topic-page on refugees and asylum seekers here:
In 2020, we held the first ever European Intersex Strategic Litigation Meeting. Nine intersex activists from eight Council of Europe countries and eight lawyers/ legal experts from seven Council of Europe countries attended the meeting. The participants shared knowledge, including about legal avenues and strategies before European Courts, the legal situation in Europe regarding intersex genital mutilation and legal gender recognition. During the meeting the participants discussed the need of a supportive network, a safe space for intersex people and related challenges.
With this initial meeting confirming our analyses about the need and the key impact of intersex strategic litigation – on one hand on the envisioned positive legal change, on the other the encouragement that it gives not only to individual intersex activists but also the entire intersex community – OII Europe has decided to intensify its work in the area of Strategic Litigation. This fruitful event also led to establishing a network in order to have a coordinated European intersex strategic litigation. We are excited to continue and increase our work in this new area.