“Hida Viloria, a voluble hermaphrodite with exquisite cheekbones, can pass effortlessly from ravishing femininity to sullen machismo. Having lived credibly as a woman and as a man, Hida… now seems happiest occupying ‘the middle ground’ between them.” — The New York Times
“…a woman determined to change the way people with ambiguous gender are treated.”
— Barbara Walters on Hida Viloria
SHORT BIO (For Press and Events)
Hida Viloria is a writer, author, and vanguard intersex and non-binary activist. S/he has spoken about intersex human rights at the United Nations and as a frequent television and radio guest (Oprah, Aljazeera, 20/20, NPR, BBC…), consultant (Lambda Legal, UN, Williams Institute…) and op-ed contributor (NewNowNext, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, The Advocate, Ms., CNN.com…). He/r memoir, Born Both: An Intersex Life (Hachette Books), received praise from The NY Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Psychology Today, and People, is a 2018 Lambda Literary Award nominee for LGBTQ non-fiction, and has been translated into German.
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Hida Viloria is a Latinx, gender fluid, intersex activist, writer and and author of the acclaimed memoir Born Both: An Intersex Life (March 2017, by Hatchette Book Group). Hida has a degree in Gender and Sexuality from the University of California at Berkeley, and has been educating people about intersex and non-binary issues since 1996, as a frequent lecturer, consultant (UN, Human Rights Watch, IOC) television and radio guest (HuffpostLive, Aljazeera, Oprah, 20/20, BBC, Inside Edition…), and in film (Gendernauts, One in 2000, Intersexion). Viloria is Chairperson of the Organization Intersex International (OII), and Founder and Executive Director of its U.S. affiliate, the Intersex Campaign for Equality, a.k.a. OII-USA. S/he has written about intersex issues in The Advocate, Ms., The New York Times, The American Journal of Bioethics, CNN.com, and others, in her blog Intersex and Out, and in the Oxford University Press college curriculum textbook, Queer: A Reader for Writers (2016).
Hida is also a gender-fluid, non-binary pioneer, speaking about being both and neither male nor female in Gendernauts (1999), and stating on Oprah in 2007 that s/he is “both” and that non-binary people shouldn’t be forced to choose between being men or women. Viloria became the recipient of the nation’s second intersex birth certificate in April 2017.
In 2010, after garnering international support for South African track star Caster Semenya, who was banned from competition on suspicion of being intersex, Viloria served, by invitation, as the sole intersex representative at the International Olympic Committee’s meeting of experts in Lausanne, Switzerland. S/he successfully argued against the pathologization of intersex people through the use of the stigmatizing label Disorders of Sex Development (DSD) and joined in the multiple voices lobbying for the full inclusion of intersex female athletes– without mandatory, medically unnecessary “feminizing treatments”–in competitive sport.
On Human Rights Day, 2012, s/he spearheaded the the first global demand for human rights by and for intersex people, as author of an open letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, signed by over 30 international intersex organizations.
In 2013, Viloria created the resource Your Beautiful Child: Information for Parents, a one of a kind resource for parents of intersex infants which uses positive, non-stigmatizing language, and was selected and served as one of three intersex co-organizers of the Third International Intersex Forum, in Malta. The event culminated with the creation of the Public Statement of the Third International Intersex Forum, a.k.a the Malta Declaration, a consensus statement of human rights demands by the intersex community.
On Human Rights Day 2013, December 10th, Hida’s pioneering human rights advocacy work was recognized with the honor of becoming the first openly intersex person to speak, by invitation, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, for the event Sports Comes Out Against Homophobia with fellow “out” pioneers Martina Navratilova and Jason Collins.
Throughout 2014-2016, Viloria continued to educate and advocate for intersex and non-binary people as a writer, lecturer and consultant. S/he was published widely online and in the books The Human Agenda: Conversations about Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity and the college freshman curriculum textbook Queer: A Reader for Writers, by Oxford University Press, and appeared in videos for Gender Talents, a web-based project that engages movements and discourses for gender self-determination within trans and intersex communities, and for the UN Free & Equal Campaign, in the video “What Does It Mean To Be Intersex?”
Viloria consulted the UN Free & Equal Campaign on their groundbreaking publication the Intersex Fact Sheet. As E.D. of OII-USA, s/he educated Lambda Legal, the representatives in Intersex Campaign for Equality Associate Director Dana Zzyym’s historic lawsuit for federal gender recognition of a non-binary person on their passport. Viloria was also featured in the U.N.’s Intersex Awareness Day 2016 Campaign. In April 2017, s/he joined the movement for third gender/non-binary legal gender recognition, in a personal capacity, by becoming the second American recipient of an intersex birth certificate.
Hida holds a degree in Gender and Sexuality with high honors and high distinction from the University of California at Berkeley, and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with he/r partner and stepson.