The following uses the wonderful and simple format of 'list journalism', because if you are a parent and a friend looking for ways to support and engage your Intersex child or friend then these recommendations and ideas, from Intersex organisations and people themselves, are here to help.



  • Talking to other families and parents can be enormously helpful and can help you to feel less alone by building a network of support
  • It is NOT your fault
  • Listen and talk to your child, trying not to make assumptions or tell them how they should feel
    • Be sensitive with the words that you choose as they will affect your child 
    • Whilst there may be a number of aspects that affect you, remember that it is your child going through this and it will be life-changing
    • Try to take time out to cope with your own feelings without your child being present
    • It may be a long and hard journey and it may take time for your child to process and come to terms with themselves and their body
  • Your child is going to need you, don't let them go through it alone
  • Sometimes it is hard to children or young adults to talk about their condition, try to make them feel comfortable and create opportunities to talk about it and how they are feeling
  • Do not compare your child to others who are 'worse or better off'
  • Do not keep secrets about your child's body from your child
  • Be ready to answer your child's questions - do not let them go to the Internet for their answers


  • Talk to your child about how they want to go through their appointments i.e. with both parents or just one parent
    • Going with your child to their appointments shows that you care and will help you to better protect and understand what your child is going through
    • Involve your child in the conversations about their body with their doctor and help them to feel comfortable
  • Look out for when your child may want to speak privately with their doctor and give them the space to do so
  • Some doctors will be overly curious, and intentionally or unintentionally hurtful when in the presence of your child - help them by not letting the doctor treat them like a guinea pig
    • Sometimes the impact of a room full of doctors will not immediately show itself - you can empower your child by saying 'no' to multiple doctors
  • Research and be knowledgeable about patient rights and your child's Intersex traits, that way you can protect them and fully understand the consequences if a doctor suggests an irreversible procedure - don't let doctors pressure your child into immediate and irreversible medical action
  • Be knowledgeable about HRT and how that may affect your child - know that there are multiple options and HRT preparations

Disclosure & Therapy

  • Make sure that your child knows that help is available if they need it
  • Help your child understand that it is completely okay to see a therapist
  • Some issues surrounding Intersex may be difficult to cope with - it does not mean that you are failing as a parent
  • Encourage your child to engage support groups and meet other people with Intersex trait
  • If you tell extended family and friends about your child's Intersex traits be sure that your child is part of the conversation
    • Make sure they know who knows and that they are okay with you disclosing 
  • If your child wants to disclose then make sure they understand the pros and cons, without shaming them about their body
    • Show your child that they have the power to decide who should and shouldn't be told
    • Make sure they know the difference between privacy and secrecy
  • Ask your child if they would like their school to know 

Family & Siblings

  • Keep your entire family up to speed with what is going on
  • If you have multiple children, your child with Intersex traits may or may not feel jealous of their sibling's experience e.g. in puberty or their ability to have children
  • Make sure your child knows that they can be a parent without giving birth to a child (Modern Family, Adoptive Parents, and a lot of hugs helped in from my experience)
  • Be aware of talking about experiences like pregnancy or other 'typical' experiences, this can be triggering or hurtful if your child feels left out or is asked by others without consideration




  • Treat your friends with dignity and respect
  • Try to understand the insecurities your friend may feel and the fear that people may think them 'different' or 'abnormal'
  • Experiences like getting your period may not be applicable to your friend, ask them if they are comfortable hearing about yours
    • Sometimes it's nice to be included but sometimes it can make your friend feel left out
  • If you have or haven't heard about Intersex before don't assume things about your friend
    • Ask them questions so you can understand better and can ask your friend how they feel about it
    • Do research on your own time by looking up Intersex organisations
    • Don't assume or ask your friend about their genitalia unless THEY bring it up - false assumptions and insensitive comments can make your friend feel like their can't be open with you about their experience
  • Remember that it is your friend's right to disclose with others unless you have their consent


  • If parts of what your friend discloses to you doesn't make sense try to respond with something like “I don’t understand everything yet, but I want to keep learning so I can support you.
    • Every Intersex person is different so don't assume that they are just like someone else
    • Realise that sometimes you may not be able to understand your friend's emotions
  • Occasionally check in with your friend to see how they are and doing, and to show that you care about and support them
    • Like everyone else, people's feelings change - it may take time to process and it may not be a simple progression
    • Understand that they may have a long way to go 
    • It may have a huge impact on your friend or it may not be a big deal to them at all
  • Be aware that people born intersex are often prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT). These medications may affect your friends' emotions, mood, or behaviour and in some cases spur bodily changes that may be new to your friend


  • Ask your friend how they identify in terms of gender
    • It may be simple and stable or it may be complicated and fluid
  • Try not to say things like “You’re so lucky you don’t get a period”, “I wish I had that because I don’t ever want kids” or “Don’t worry about it because you’re so attractive.”
  • Let me know you appreciate how hard it might have been to disclose these personal details and that you’re thankful your friend has shared them with you
  • Ask your friend which term they prefer i.e. Intersex or differences or sex development
  • Your friend may have had surgery with or without my permission, and it may be hard for them to accept themselves when others failed to do so in past
  • Embrace your friend's growth, let them know that being born intersex is not shameful and that you love and care about them
  • Let your friend decide who and what they are - like anyone else, their gender expression and sexual identity may change through their life


Inter/Act Youth -,