HOOU AfterwOERk on 21 November 2018 on “Intersex and Gender in Open Teaching and Learning Materials”

On 21 November 2018, an AfterwOERk panel discussion on “Intersex and Gender in Open Teaching and Learning Materials” took place at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) as part of the Hamburg Open Online University (HOOU).  The discussion panellists were Isabel Collien, consultant for diversity and intersectionality at the HAW, and Dr Katinka Schweizer, psychologist and sexual scientist at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf. The moderators Ellen Pflaum and Jakob Kopczynski began by discussing the panellists’ projects within Open Educational Resources (OER) and then asked about the potential and difficulties they entail. You can listen to the panel discussion as a podcast [in German] here.

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Draft law on the third sex birth register entry: Second and third readings on 13 December 2018

On Thursday, 13 December 2018 at 15:40, the second and third readings of the Bundestag on the amendment to the sex data to be entered into the civil status registry will take place. The draft bill on this amendment will be discussed and voted on (see this PDF of the draft bill and blog post of 6 November 2018), as well as a proposal of the political party die LINKEN which calls for the following points, among others:

  1. Prohibition of deferrable, non-essential operations on children that aim to instate “gender non-ambiguity”
  2. Amendment to the Personal Status Code (PStG) to the effect that all persons may freely choose their civil status “without major obstacles”, which will repeal the German Transexuals Act (TSG)
  3. Prohibition of disclosure, i.e. access to the previous civil status of a person only permitted with his/her authorisation

The readings can be viewed live on Thursday at this link to the German Bundestag.

“Female, male and… diverse?” – Book Presentation and Panel Discussion at the IPU Berlin

MANN_INTER_FRAU (MAN_INTER_WOMAN) (Photo and sculpture: Fabian Vogler)

On 7 November 2018, a panel discussion and book presentation entitled “Female, male and… diverse?” took place at the International Psychoanalytic University (IPU) Berlin. The anthology and illustrated book “Die Schönheiten des Geschlechts: Intersex im Dialog” [The Beauties of Gender: Intersex in Dialogue], edited by Katinka Schweizer and Fabian Vogler and published this year by CAMPUS, was presented. It comprises a large number of inter- and transdisciplinary contributions to the title theme and numerous bronze works by the sculptor Fabian Vogler, as well as artistic interventions by other international artists. Continue reading ““Female, male and… diverse?” – Book Presentation and Panel Discussion at the IPU Berlin”

Public hearing – on the draft bill to amend the Personal Status Code (PStG) on 26 November 2018

On 26 November 2018, the Committee on Internal Affairs and Community (Internal Affairs Committee) held a public hearing on the draft law “Amendments to the information to be entered in the register of births”. The legal experts present were Dr Petra Follmar-Otto, Dr Anna Katharina Mangold and Prof. Dr Konstanze Plett, the doctors Prof. Dr Susanne Krege, Prof. Dr Anne Richter-Unruh and Dr Christian Spaemann, as well as Lucie Veith for the Federal Association “Intersexuelle Menschen e.V.” Other relevant disciplines, such as psychology and education, were not represented. You can view the video [in German] under this link.

HOOU AfterwOERk on 21 November at 6:30pm

On 21 November, the Hamburg Open Online University (HOOU) will host a discussion forum on how to deal with sensitive issues such as diversity and gender in Open Educational Resources (OER). Dr Katinka Schweizer (sexologist and psychologist at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf) and Isabel Collien (consultant for diversity and intersectionality at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW)) will report on their projects as experts in this field and be available for questions.

The event will take place at 6:30pm at the HAW University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften) Gameslab, Finkenau 31, 22081 Hamburg.

US Department of Health plans antiquated “new” form of gender categorisation

According to the New York Times of 21 October 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans to shorten the legal definition of “sex” in the Federal Civil Rights Laws. The paragraph “Title X” prohibits all forms of discrimination on the basis of sex in state-funded educational institutions. In a recently published draft by the Department of Health and Human Services, “sex” is to be defined in future as the dichotomous “female” or “male”, with these ascriptions being made on the basis of the sex characteristics present at birth, and shall be deemed unchangeable. In cases of ambiguity, genetic tests are supposed to be able to provide clarity. Catherine E. Lhamon, who headed the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights during the Obama administration, commented on the proposed sex definition, saying: “[This] quite simply negates the humanity of people”. The proposal ignores biological, sexual and medical facts; it is unethical and unscientific. Further information can be found under this link to the New York Times and under this link to an article from the Süddeutsche Zeitung  from 11 November 2018.

Intersex in the family series “Lena Lorenz”: ZDF marks Intersex Awareness Day

On the eve of International Intersex Awareness Day, the TV channel ZDF marked the occasion with a reference to the topic in the TV series “Lena Lorenz”. The day  is observed  every year on 26 October. The episode “Eindeutig uneindeutig” [“Clearly ambiguous”] in the series “Lena Lorenz” (90 min) is about the birth of an interchild with   partial androgen insensitivity (PAIS) and the questions this raises. The episode vividly depicts the pressure families can be put under to quickly assign children born with ambiguous genitals to the female or male sex. The enlightened physician, who is familiar with the new   medical guidelines, and the level-headed, caring midwife, Lena Lorenz, turn out to be a stroke of luck for the child and the parents and prove to be genuine role models.

“Normalising” surgical interventions without a clear medical reason (indication) are condemned and have been declared obsolete. However, the advice of both professionals is only hesitantly accepted by the family. In the end, it is the young brother of around 6 years of age who stands up for his sibling and brings his parents to their senses by showing them what is really important: accepting one another and loving one another just the way each person is.

In this episode, the falsely assumed duality of the sexes is called into question. Different points of view and conflicts are raised, for instance in statements like “Everyone always wants to be individual and special, and when it gets real, everyone has a problem with it”.

The film can still be viewed here in the ZDF media library up until 3 January 2019.