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The World’s First Intersex Mayor?

The World’s First Intersex Mayor?

What is believed to be the world’s first intersex mayor has been elected in Australia.

Councillor Tony Briffa won in the City of Hobsons Bay in the suburbs of Melbourne at the end of November.

Briffa is an independent Councillor whose focus has been on representing his community, community diversity and environmental issues.

“I am excited about the future of our community and look forward to serving the city with enthusiasm and pride,” Briffa said following his election.

LGBTI Health Alliance Board Member Gina Wilson says Briffa is inspiring.

“Tony is an inspiration and a role model for a whole generation of intersex people, both those who have suffered early interventions and those who have come to their differences later in life,” Wilson said.

“We share Tony’s hope that his election will break down taboos associated with intersex differences. Tony is a wonderful example of how intersex people can overcome the devastating and unnecessary medical treatment meted out to so many intersex children, and go on to become champions of human rights and cultural diversity for everyone.”

An intersex person may have biological characteristics of both the male and the female sexes. Some people (whether physically intersex or not) do not identify themselves as either exclusively female or exclusively male.

Briffa has publicly spoken on TV about his genetic intersex condition, but is referred to as ‘he.’

He was raised as a girl and was not told the truth about his condition until years later.

“Years later I feel very comfortable having accepted my true nature. I am not male or female, but both,” he writes on his website.

“I am still Antoinette and have now also incorporated and accepted my male (Anthony or Tony) side. I feel whole.”

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Image source Tony Briffa

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56 comments

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3:33PM PST on Dec 12, 2011

When I elect someone to a political role I am more interested in how good they are at carrying out their duties than I am as to what gender they are. There is more than one person in a position of responsiblity in the world today who would be better suited to doing something else instead (some of them seem better suited to counting grains of sand on a beach). So I say good luck to this person, I hope that they do a good job (and that they are allowed to get on with it - if they don't carry out their duties responsibly I hope that they get kicked out).

4:08PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

Marianna B.M. "just wrong plain wrong"

Are you referring to yourself here? Please clarify.

4:04PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

I know Tony Briffa and am so pleased at this news both for Tony himself and the positive benefits that will accrue for intersex people. Many intersex people live their lives in secrecy for fear of bigotry and discrimination by people who are unaware that intersex conditions are relatively common. For those who declare that a Y chromosome and a penis makes a man and two X chromosomes and a clitoris make a woman, I suggest you check the scientific evidence which contradicts this view. 'Male' certainly can be linked to phenotype and genotype, it can also be linked to a person's gonads, but it can also be defined by the brain (gender identity) which can (and often does) overrule anatomy.

3:59PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

To Rob D.

Rob, no one can define whether you are physically male or female except you and medical science. No one, except you can define your sexuality or your gender identity. "Some wires" are definitely crossed here! :)

Tony is a HE and is not 'asexual'. His sexuality has nothing whatsoever to do with his anatomy or his chromosomes.

1:03PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

Only thing that should matter is the person's ability

12:01AM PST on Dec 11, 2011

just wrong plain wrong

11:28PM PST on Dec 10, 2011

Any time we exclude people for non work-related factors, we lose talent.

10:20PM PST on Dec 10, 2011

This is an example of the issue of bio-diversity. Nature knows it is an important element of evolution.... and internal or external demonstrations of bio-diversity in all species exist. I trust nature and accept it over religion or hateful fear.

9:07PM PST on Dec 10, 2011

Awesome!

7:15PM PST on Dec 10, 2011

Wonderful! I don't feel there is enough visibility or awareness of intersex people in the world, and its disgusting hearing hateful comments towards people that are intersex, or worse, people who even deny that they exist! One of my buddies has an intersex condition, Sleyer's syndrome. She is genetically male but was raised as a female. To hear people deny that they exist or are so rare that it doesn't matter, is insulting and also points to a society that has been kept in the dark about intersexuality largely through shame.

The reality is that intersexual conditions occur in as little as 1 in a 1000 babies born. It is far, far, more common than most people realize. What has happened is that many of the children (depending on condition) have been surgically altered as infants to be girls. The child is often never told what has happened, and the parents never, ever say anything to anyone else. Sexual surgical "corrections" of this nature have gone in the US since the 50s to my knowledge. It leaves behind many young intersex children who have no idea why they don't feel "right" as adults. Other intersex conditions leave children who are genetically male with "female" bodies, ie, no penis. These children grow up raised as women and looking masculine, and are ridiculed for looking as such.

Spread the word--intersexuality is real, and intersexual people are fine the way they are or wish to be!

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