DIVERSE encounters during the HOOU-Symposium 2019 at the MARKK

On the occasion of the new Personal Status Code (PStG), the third hoou (Hamburg Open Online University) project symposium took place on 13 March 2019, this time at the “Museum am Rothenbaum – Kulturen und Künste der Welt” (formerly “Völkerkundemuseum”). The well attended event „DIVERSE bodies – DIVERSE identities“ was opened by Hamburg‘s second Major Senator Katharina Fegebank after a greeting from the project head Katinka Schweizer.

The symposium was audiorecorded and is as podcast (in German) available (here is the Twitter link).

Greetings were delivered by Dipl.-Psych. Gabriele Amelung, president of the DPG institute Hamburg and Prof. Dr. Peer Briken, director of the Institute for Sex Research and Forensic Psychiatry at the University Medical Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf.

In various manners, the event contributed to the project‘s aims of variety of perspectives and acknowledgement of intersex: Dr. Ute Lampalzer presented scientific results of the project research which contrasted moving autobiographic short stories by Alex* Jürgen, a lived-experience expert from Austria. His_her stories about living in the countryside as a hybrid were refreshing. His_her childhood and adolescence fantasies regarding puzzling messages from church and medicine as well as his_her experience as a patient who appeared to not fit into the gender norms were inspiring and worrying at the same time. As it was common these days, one tried to adapt his_her sex regardless of physical integrity. On the question of how to approach Alex* Jürgen, he answered that it does not matter: „she“ certainly refers to the German word „die Person“ [the person], whereas „he“ most likely refers to the German word „der Mensch“ [the human].

The break offered the opportunity to discuss and reflect within the impressing and spacious museum buiding. The extraordinary environment, the historical lecture hall, the committed staff and the interested, diverse audience which consisted of specialists, lived-experience experts and the interested general population created a unique atmosphere of personal encounters. The bronze sculptures by Fabian Vogler, e.g. „Fluffy Menina“ and „Mann_Inter_Frau“ [man_inter_woman] supported this impression.

During the second part, Fabian Vogler and Katinka Schweizer introduced their book „Die Schönheiten des Geschlechts“ [The beauty of sex]. They missed Prof. Martin Dannecker who could not come due to illness and who actually wanted to discuss the book‘s origin. However, Fabian Vogler impressed as innovative sculptor with a diashow about his work on sex diversity and excerpts from the book. During the final penal discussion, various co-authos talked about their evaluations of the new PStG and the opportunities of a third and fourth sex entry, the requirement of a medical attest and possible consequences for dealing with diverse sex development.

Among the guests were the psychiatrist Dr. Viktoria Märker, the psychologist Dr. Franziska Brunner, Alex* Jürgen, the lawyer Prof. Dr. Konstanze Plett, the artist Fabian Vogler and the psychoanalyst Almut Rudolf-Petersen. Dr. Katinka Schweizer moderated the panel discussion.

The HOOU-event was supported by the Psychoterhapeutenkammer Hamburg, the Heinrich-Heine bookshop and the DPG institute Hamburg as cooperation partner, Eva Köster Jakob Kopczynski and various others. We thank all contributors for this interesting afternoon and evening.