Intersexed in Oz

From The Scavenger, author Katrina Fox; h/t to Not Dead Yet. At the site itself you can get an article by the subject of the post, Norrie.

The NSW government in Australia has issued what is believed to be the world’s first ‘Sex Not Specified’ Recognised Details Certificate in place of a birth certificate, writes Katrina Fox. Norrie, a member of Sex and Gender Education (SAGE), a lobby group campaigning for the rights of all sex and gender diverse people has been issued with what is understood to be the world’s first ‘Sex Not Specified’ Recognised Details Certificate in place of a birth certificate. This means that Norrie (also known as norrie mAy-Welby) – a resident of Sydney, NSW – is legally recognised as neither male nor female according to the Australian government. Originally Norrie, 48, was born in Scotland and registered as male at birth. At age 23 Norrie commenced sex and gender conversion to female through hormone and construction of a vagina and was then issued with a gender recognition certificate as female in Australia. But this did not work out for Norrie as zie (gender-neutral pronoun) did not feel comfortable living solely as a female so zie ceased lifelong hormone treatment and took up a neuter identity which is neither male nor female, resisting any further female or male normalisation. Continue reading


Family court allows parents to sterilize their severely disabled daughter in Australia

You can read the judgment here.

And here are some news articles.

Disability and Ethics Through the Life Cycle

A number of What Sorts Network members are on the invited speaker list for this conference; we encourage others to consider submitting an abstract for a contributed session, and attending.

The Albany Law School, Rapaport Ethics Across the Curriculum Program of Union College, and the Bioethics Program of Union Graduate College and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine are pleased to invite you to the upcoming conference on

Disability and Ethics through the Life Cycle: Cases, Controversies and Finding Common Ground

This conference will be held Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22 at Union College in Schenectady, NY. Current debates on ethics and disability tend to focus on divisive issues at the edges of life such as abortion and physician-assisted suicide. As people progress through the life cycle, from infancy and childhood, through the reproductive years, middle and old age, they confront other equally important disability-related challenges that tend to be neglected in the current bioethical debate. This conference will offer bioethicists, disability-rights advocates, disability scholars, biomedical researchers, policy makers, and other stakeholders the opportunity to discuss disability-related issues as they arise through all stages of life. By promoting interdisciplinary conversations from the life-cycle perspective, this conference aims at fostering a new dialogue between bioethicists and the disability community.

Featured speakers at this conference include:

  • Adrienne Asch, PhD, MS, Edward and Robin Milstein Professor of Bioethics at Yeshiva University and Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health and Family and Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
  • Robert Baker, PhD, Director of The Union Graduate College – Mount Sinai School of Medicine Bioethics Program and William D. Williams Professor of Philosophy, Union College.
  • Diane Coleman, JD, MBA, Assistant Director for Advocacy, Center for Disability Rights, Inc., and Founder and President, Not Dead Yet.
  • Eva Kittay, PhD, Professor of Philosophy, State University of New York at Stonybrook.
  • Mark G. Kuczewski, PhD, Director of the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy, The Father Michael I. English, S.J., Professor of Medical Ethics, Loyola University Chicago Medical Center, and President of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities.
  • Alicia Ouellette, JD, Associate Professor of Law, Albany Law School.
  • Elizabeth Pendo, JD., Professor of Law, St. Louis University School of Law.

We are still soliciting contributed papers or panels for highly interactive sessions. Continue reading

The Persistence of Race in Biotech Patenting and Drug Development

For those of you in the Edmonton area, the Health Law Institute at the U of A will be hosting a lecture on race and drug development on March 25th.

Despite the fact that race as a topic of discussion seems to have fallen off the radar of many disciplines over the past few years, it remains a hotly debated topic in the medical sciences. It is astounding how poorly conceived the idea of race is, yet how widely accepted it remains. For example, the PBS program Faces of America traces the biological ancestry of 12 celebrities. In the episode that I saw last night, the discussion revolved around how accurately genetics can be used to determined which geographic racial group one belongs to, in terms of gene frequencies. Each of the celebrities was told how much, in percentages, of their genes came from Europe, Asia, or Africa.

When using such broadly defined categories, how can an assessment not be accurate? As usual, these simple geographic referents became reduced to Black/White, with some reference to Asians and Native Americans being all the same. The most telling part of the program is when host’s genome had been decoded, and his genetic “profile” was revealed, which included discussion of the risk factors for various diseases that were determined by the analysis. The question asked was do you really want to know what diseases you might inevitably develop? If we can continue to convince people that they belong to artificial racial groups, then drug therapies can be marketed to greatest number of people where the risk factors for various diseases can be linked to racial groups. When we reduce human genetic variation to three basic categories, we get a wildly distorted view of how we actually differ biologically, and the real patterns that lie beneath the surface . The end result is selling people medications that they likely will not need.