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.

Draft bill on the third sex marker in the birth register

In accordance with the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 10 October 2017, the German legislator must agree on an amendment to the Personal Status Code (PStG). This is to be completed by 31 December 2018. The PStG is to allow the entry of a positive third sex marker in the birth register. Since the draft bill of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community of 5 June 2018 had been strongly criticised (see blog post of 28 June 2018, and a statement from the organisation Intersex International), a new draft law was presented on 7 September 2018 (here is a link to the PDF). Continue reading “Draft bill on the third sex marker in the birth register”

Panel discussion and book presentation on 7 November in Berlin

A panel discussion on the third sex marker in the birth register will take place at the International Psychoanalytic University (IPU) Berlin on November 7 at 8 pm. The event will include a presentation of the book Die Schönheiten des Geschlechts. Intersex im Dialog [The Beauties of Gender. Intersex in Dialogue], edited by Katinka Schweizer and Fabian Vogler, which was published this year (2018). Among the participants are also Prof. Dr Konstanze Plett, Lucie Veith and Dr Ina-Marie Blomeyer. The new president of the IPU, Prof. Dr Ilka Quindeau, will moderate the evening. Further information about the event can be found here.

Expert day at the Ministry of Justice on 16 October 2018

On Tuesday, 16 October 2018, an expert day on the protection of intersex-born children took place at the Federal Ministry of Justice in Berlin with lived-experience experts and specialists. The subject was the discussion of  legal provisions for the protection of children with variations in sex development against gender-normalising medical interventions.

The current coalition agreement (of the CDU, CSU and SPD) from 12 March 2018 contains the following wording and objective on the subject: “We will make it legally clear that gender-normalising medical interventions on children are only permitted in urgent, life-threatening cases” (p. 21, lines 797–799). Further information can be found at:

Inter-sex gets positive: Landmark decision of the Federal Constitutional Court

A reason to celebrate – persistence pays off!

“Yes to the third sex” (SZ), “Neither man nor woman”, “The future – unisex?” (FAZ), “Revolutionary” (Die Welt), “Three wins” (taz) – Headlines translated from German from 8 November 2017


The plaintiff, Vanja, did not give up. Only a year ago, her_his lawsuit was rejected by the Federal Court of Justice. Now the judges of the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, the highest court in the country, have ruled in her_his favour. In the constitutional complaint, Vanja brought an action against the current Personal Status Code, which previously only allowed two positive sex markers and, since 2013, a further, “empty” sex marker. Continue reading “Inter-sex gets positive: Landmark decision of the Federal Constitutional Court”

Positive response and constructive debate at the HOOU: Successful intersex symposium at UKE

The symposium “Intersex Controversies” on 22 November 2017 was the second symposium hosted by the HOOU Intersex-Kontrovers project. The response was tremendous and the ballroom in Erika-Haus at the UKE in Hamburg was fully booked. Prof. Peer Briken, Director of the Institute for Sex Research and Forensic Psychiatry at the UKE, opened the event.The initiator, Dr Katinka Schweizer, was delighted that so many people accepted the invitation. She introduced the host project along with all the guests, and moderated throughout the afternoon. Continue reading “Positive response and constructive debate at the HOOU: Successful intersex symposium at UKE”

Interviews with professional experts

In this contribution you can watch interviews with a range of professional experts. Dr. Ute Lampalzer has interviewed experts who have been dealing with intersex, the body and gender in their work over a long period of time.

We would like to thank the interviewees for their time and openness and for their consent to publication.

The following interviews can already be seen here:

Dr. Michael Groneberg, philosopher

Prof. Dr. phil. Konstanze Plett, jurist

Dr. med. Wilhelm Preuss, psychiatrist and sex researcher

Fabian Vogler, sculptor

Dr. phil. Katinka Schweizer, psychologist