British Psychological Society call for papers on intersex and psychology

The British Psychological Society Sexuality Section has published a call for papers for a special issue of Psychology of Sexualities Review journal on intersex and psychology in Britain.
Page last updated:

Psychology of Sexualities Review, Vol 10, No 1, Summer 2019 cover
The British Psychological Society Sexuality Section has published a call for papers for a special issue of Psychology of Sexualities Review journal on intersex and psychology in Britain:

Intersex people are born with diverse chromosomal, gonadal and/or anatomical sex characteristics that do not fit the typical definitions of male or female…

As Vecchietti (2018) recently argued, alliances with LGBT organisations could be helpful to intersex people, particularly where those organisations ‘are linked into support mechanisms, funding pathways, and strategies for successful public awareness-raising campaigns.’

Yet both experts on intersex human rights (Carpenter, 2016) and arguments for continued medicalisation (Cools et al., 2016) critique LGBT organisations’ claims to represent intersex issues without substantive engagement with intersex-identified people.

Psychologists perform vital roles for intersex people and our families, including in clinical settings where some psychologists have identified a poor fit between “an ideology of self-acceptance” in psychology and “the centrality of ‘corrective’ medical interventions” in hospitals’ multidisciplinary teams (Liao and Simmonds 2013). Noting that the BPS Sexualities Section “implicitly represents UK intersex people” through involvement in an “LGBTI” network, it seeks to “engage productively and constructively with this set of obligations, challenges and problematics”.

The call for contributions, by Parslow-Breen, Vecchietti and Hegarty, cites a paper of mine from 2016, which has been followed by further analysis published in 2018.

This is an exciting development. It is conspicuously one that has not occurred within any profession in Australia, despite a longstanding inclusion of intersex issues within an “LGBTI” framework and, often, a reinforcement of misconceptions around intersex as a matter of sexuality or gender identity. This contrasts with actual practices in medical settings. I’d like to invite health, legal and allied professions in Australia to undertake similar work.

Abstracts are sought by 2 December 2019, with complete papers due by 6 April 2020 for publication later in 2020.

More information

Carpenter, Morgan. 2016. ‘The Human Rights of Intersex People: Addressing Harmful Practices and Rhetoric of Change’. Reproductive Health Matters 24 (47): 74–84. doi:10.1016/j.rhm.2016.06.003.

Cools, Martine, Margaret Simmonds, Sue Elford, Joke Gorter, S Faisal Ahmed, Franco D’Alberton, Alex Springer, and Olaf Hiort. 2016. ‘Response to the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner’s Issue Paper on Human Rights and Intersex People’. European Urology 70 (3): 407–9. doi:10.1016/j.eururo.2016.05.015.

Liao, Lih-Mei, and Margaret Simmonds. 2013. ‘A Values-Driven and Evidence-Based Health Care Psychology for Diverse Sex Development’. Psychology & Sexuality 5 (1): 83–101. doi:10.1080/19419899.2013.831217.

Parslow-Breen, Orla, Valentino Vecchietti, and Peter Hegarty. 2019. ‘Special Issue: Intersex and Psychology in Britain: A Special Issue of Psychology of Sexualities Review’. Psychology of Sexualities Review 10 (1): 3–4. https://shop.bps.org.uk/publications/publication-by-series/psychology-of-sexualities-review/psychology-of-sexualities-review-vol-10-no-1-summer-2019.html

Vecchietti, Valentino. 2018. ‘Our Bodies, Our Rights’. New Internationalist, August 28. https://newint.org/features/2018/10/09/our-bodies-our-rights.