Peer support works because...
Peer support provides opportunities and safe spaces for talking about, and being, intersex. Talking with others with intersex variations, or other parents and carers, about our issues and shared experiences helps builds understanding and self-knowledge whilst providing emotional support.
Seeing people “like us” lets us position ourselves in the world and can make us feel less alone. Having more and different conversations about intersex improves our vocabulary and confidence when speaking about our bodies and personal needs. Accessing honest information and compassionate support helps overcome anxiety, de-escalate traumatic clinical processes, and facilitate self-acceptance.
Psychosocial supports, such as peer support, accessed at different ages can assist families in navigating unfamiliar social and medical territory and promote healthy attitudes and adjustment to life challenges – hospitals, schooling, puberty, relationships, hormones and fertility. Benefits for intersex adolescents, such as a growing sense of independence, self-confidence and resilience, accrue over time with repeated and ongoing access to peer support.
Accessing peer support groups means accessing a collective of knowledge and experiences. Intersex peer support workers are able to help connect people to others with similar variations through local and international networks of peers. Information about recommended clinicians and knowledgeable organisations is shared within the intersex community, which can help to locate trusted, [affirmative services] by reducing the pressure of having to educate practitioners at every step of the way.
Connecting with others can be the single biggest transformation event in someone’s intersex journey.