Advice and activism

There is no registered inter* counselling service available in NRW.

However, the Verein Intersexuelle Menschen e.V. (Association of Intersex People e.V.) offers peer counselling outreach services.

“Peer counselling” basically means that the people providing the advice are themselves intersex or are the parents of an intersex child. They can draw upon their own experiences and provide advice on equal terms.

You can find out more about peer counselling services here.

Verein Intersexuelle Menschen e.V.

There is also a family self-help group, called Lila NRW, which meets regularly in Cologne. Further information can be obtained here: Email.

The website of the self-help group for parents and family members of inter* people (interfamilien) also provides information on personal meetings, literature and various topics related to inter*. 

You can also receive advice on physical matters from medical professionals. Experiences can vary greatly in this regard. It is important that you feel that you are getting good advice and that you feel comfortable throughout the process. It is a good idea to seek advice from support groups and to learn from other peoples’ experiences. Try to work with a doctor you feel you can trust.

Counselling services, which deal with the concerns of intersex people in a sensitive way, include:

Bochum (Rosa Strippe)

Rosa Strippe provides advice to inter* people and their relatives as part of an initial counselling service or “clearing” process (this involves establishing the kind of support that is needed and how it is going to be delivered). The staff have access to a well-researched pool of information, including the contact details of people from support groups and health services. Rosa Strippe provides advice on the protection and safety of intersex children, young people and adults in a subjective way. It deals with matters concerning gender diversity positively, placing the wellbeing of the child at the heart of the process.

Cologne (rubicon e.V.)

Rubicon e.V. also provides counselling services to intersex people, as part of its psychosocial counselling service, offering advice on issues such as sexual orientation, forming a rainbow family and gender self-determination.

Rubicon e.V. does not offer a specialised counselling service to inter* people, but instead performs a signposting role, referring people seeking advice to peer-counselling services such as the Verein Intersexuelle Menschen e.V. Being referred onto the peer counselling service is particularly helpful for inter* people who may be in the process of coming out and for the parents of intersex children who can get answers to the many questions they may have concerning medical matters.

Münster (pro familia)

pro familia Münster advises inter* people, their partners, families and friends competently, sensitively and confidentially. The topics of the consultation can be: Identity and self-description; body, coming out, relationships, local offers, experiences of discrimination, (unfulfilled) desire for children, parenthood of inter* children.

A number of counselling services offered by pro familia NRW, such as:

pro familia Bielefeld

pro familia Cologne Central

pro familia Mettmann

pro familia Oberhausen

pro familia Remscheid

pro familia Sankt Augustin

pro familia Witten

Further information and services offered by support groups (across Germany) can be found here: 

Support groups offering specific advice on diagnoses
OII (Organisation Intersex International)
Antidiscrimination initiatives & Empowerment for Inter*
Kampagne für eine Dritte Option (Campaign for a Third Option)
DGTI (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Transidentität und Intersexualität e.V.) [German Association for Transidentity and Intersexuality]

Youth groups for LGBT people may also be of interest to young inter* people. Further information on LGBT youth groups in NRW can be found at Queeren Jugend NRW. Here you can find out whether issues concerning young intersex people have been taken into account and dealt with.

There is also a blog written by researchers based in Hamburg on the subject of inter* which provides advice on reading materials, events and information on gender diversity. This can be found at: Blog Intersex kontrovers.

The United Nations has also focused on inter* matters and has set up a campaign that calls for a greater awareness of the subject. Videos, accounts from intersex people and fact sheets can be accessed at: Free & Equal (Intersex Awareness by the United Nations). (English)