Gender diversity in law: We congratulate Professor Konstanze Plett on being awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, with a presentation speech by Dr. Jörg Woweries

Gender diversity and justice needs clever, fearless, committed, persistent and optimistic fighters. The jurist Prof. Dr. Konstanze Plett from the University of Bremen has been awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her special services and commitment to the recognition of the rights of intersex people. Not least among her achievements is her successful launch of the “Third Option” constitutional complaint in collaboration with lawyer Katrin Niedenthal and jurist Prof. Dr. Friederike Wapler. This constitutional complaint brought before the Federal Constitutional Court in 2017, and the carefully prepared submission made by the three lawyers on which it is based, formed the legal framework for the introduction of an additional positive sex marker in German law in December 2018 (see blog post of 21 December 2018). Given this background, it is disturbing to read Martin Spiewak’s assessment in his controversial article „Diverse Missverständnisse“ published recently in DIE ZEIT (see DIE ZEIT of 9 May 2019, p. 39), that this was the result of “superficial research by the highest German court”.

In a contribution by Jan Feddersen, the award winner Plett is praised for her legal achievement as “the most committed and in some ways most fearless person in the fight for the human rights of intersex individuals” (see the tageszeitung/taz online of 29 March 2019, p.2, here).

In true Hanseatic manner and in recognition of the cooperation of her many fellow campaigners, the Hamburg-born jurist accepted the award with thanks and described it as a “story of the cooperation of many”. She acknowledged how dialogue with lived-experience experts and their trust had a great influence on her thoughts and actions.

Konstanze Plett has been our guest several times for the HOOU project “Intersex Kontrovers”, most recently on the podium at the 3rd project symposium “Diverse Bodies, Diverse Identities” at MARKK in Hamburg on 13 March 2019. She has supported our HOOU project from the beginning, and we thank her very much for her confidence in our activities!

We congratulate Professor Konstanze Plett on this special award and are pleased to publish a guest article by Dr. Jörg Woweries from Berlin in her honour.

We would like to thank Dr. Woweries for allowing us to publish the text, and join him in his congratulations!

Katinka Schweizer

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