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Do Intersex & Transgender Children Have Human Rights?

  • Professor Benjamin Moron-Puech (Université Lumière Lyon 2)
woensdag 30 november 2022
Academy Building. Telders Auditorium
Rapenburg 73
Telders Auditorium
Benjamin Moron-Puech

 Please register here

Do intersex and transgender children have human rights?

Although no one from the life sciences would dare challenge the belonging of intersex and transgender children to humanity, a social scientist specialized in international human rights law could have a different view on this. The violation of intersex and transgender basic human rights is so frequent and almost universal, that it brings into question their ability to be legally subsumed under the qualification of human. Intersex children, for instance, can often not fully join legal humanity until their gender and sex characteristics have been assigned by lawyers and doctors, sometime after irreversible sterilizing surgeries. Before this double assignation, intersex children are suffering a lack of status (a capitis diminutio as Roman lawyers would have put it), stuck in limbo like unbaptized children in the past.

As regards transgender children, although their ability to belong to humanity is not at first denied, it appears later as soon as they move from the bio-binary standard of humanity (Espineira & Thomas 2021) by trying to live either with a gender allegedly incongruent with their sex characteristics or to live with a non-binary gender or even without any gender. Indeed, from this point transgender children are likely to be deprived from their right of access to healthcare and their right to determine the details of their identity.

After presenting the basic human rights violations suffered by intersex and transgender children, partly due to inappropriate medical practices, this lecture will discuss the various arguments brought forward to justify these practices and will explain how inconsistent and contradictory they are.

About the speaker

Benjamin Moron-Puech is Professor of law at Université Lumière Lyon 2 (CERCRID & Transversales), where he teaches especially family law, human rights law and gender law; and he is also associate researcher in the Legal Sociology Laboratory (Université Paris-Panthéon-Assas).

Since 2009, he has been working with an interdisciplinary & participative approach on the law of sexed, sexual and gendered minorities, both in French, comparative & international law, and both in a theoretical and practical way, including for the latter the drafting of third-party interventions before French and European Courts. During his work on minority rights, he tries to bring new perspective to many topics, like gender markers, inclusive language, spatial segregation, sports categories, medically assisted procreation, parenthood, limitation period in case of psychological trauma and lastly democratic strategic litigation. Although he publishes mostly in French, two of his work can be read in English:

  • “State normalization of inclusive language. A review of differences between France and Quebec”, with A. Saris and L. Bouvattier, Cahiers du genre, Volume 69, Issue 2, July 2020, 151-176;
  • “The Legal Situation of Intersex Persons in France”, J. M. Scherpe et al. (eds.), The Legal Status of Intersex Persons, Intersentia, 2018, 305-317.

Professor Moron-Puech has been involved in several research projects and conferences at Leiden Law School, where he also is a speaker on intersex issues in Leiden University’s annual Summer School on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Law.

About the lecture

This lecture is mainly intended for students and staff from Leiden University. It will be moderated by Kees Waaldijk, who is organising this lecture as holder of the sponsored chair in comparative sexual orientation law at Leiden University’s Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies.

At the Grotius Centre, professor Waaldijk is also the academic coordinator of the annual Summer School on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Law and co-creator of the Leiden Overview on SOGIESC in International Law.

The lecture starts at 19:15, but coffee & tea will be available from 18:45.

Please register here for this lecture, and please see Leiden University’s rules on corona.

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