Intersex Hollyoaks star Ki Griffin explains why we need to ‘transcend’ the ‘broken’ binary system
Hollyoaks star Ki Griffin has spoken out about their experiences as a Black, queer, non-binary intersex person, and its a message that everyone needs to hear this Intersex Awareness Day (26 October)
Griffin, who plays non-binary character Ripley Lennox on the long-running Channel 4 soap, spoke at London Trans+ Pride 2021 earlier this year with campaign group Intersex Equality Rights UK.
They spoke after thousands of trans and non-binary people and their allies marched through central London to demand trans rights, healthcare and equality.
Speaking after the crowd heard from model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, Griffin said the event was the biggest he had ever spoken at.
“And oh, my god, look at all your beautiful faces. Look at the trans joy, the non-binary joy, the intersex joy we’re creating right now,” Ki Griffin began their speech.
“LGBTIQA. What does the I stand for? It stands for me: an intersex person. My name is Ki Griffin, my pronouns are they/he – that’s quite new – and I’m a Black, queer, non-binary, intersex person.”
The crowd applauded as Griffin shared their pronouns, with shouts of “We love you!” audible even among the noise and clamour of thousands of people.
He continued: “As varied as nature is, so are people. Intersex is an umbrella term for over 40 distinct variations that we can naturally be born with. This includes variations in our hormones, chromosomes and physical sex characteristics.
“Intersex people make up 1.7 per cent of the population – that’s over a million people in the UK. And globally that’s over 130 million. There is no one narrative for every single one of us. My story? I’m lucky enough to be representing my community within television. I play Ripley Lennox on the soap opera Hollyoaks.
“I come from a loving home, with parents and siblings that adore me. I have an extremely intelligent, insanely beautiful partner that cherishes me and I cherish them. I’m surrounded by community that lifts me and in return I lift them. Unfortunately, this is not a common situation. Many of my intersex, trans and non-binary siblings will not have the same happy story to tell.
“Intersex children are mutilated on a regular basis. Trans people can’t access lifesaving healthcare and non-binary folk aren’t even legally recognised. We all belong. We are all products of nature. Whether we have intersectional identities like myself or we simply stand in allyship with each other.
“How many tales of trauma do we need to hear before how we’re treated changes?”
Griffin stopped speaking, emotional, as the crowd cheered.
He continued: “As part of the team at Intersex Equality Rights UK we’re trying to put changes in motion for intersex people. And standing in allyship with our trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming siblings .
“Our founder, Valentino Vecchietti, recently released the intersex inclusive Pride flag. It’s beautiful to see our three categories included together on our Pride flag while acknowledging that we don’t have to be each other to understand each other. And we all belong.
“The joy we experience in being ourselves and seeing our siblings be themselves, being able to love, and give love, to be able to thrive and watch our community thrive is what motivates us and pushed us to keep on doing the work that makes those pockets of joy deeper. If the world we live in doesn’t give us the opportunity to thrive then let’s build a new one.
“A world where not conforming to binaries is celebrated and not shunned. Because this system is broken. And we need to transcend.”