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Can you share your experience?

On these pages we welcome requests by international researchers for participation in ethically approved research projects.

(Posted Summer 2012)

PhD Project: An investigation into the extent to which those with an ‘intersex’ condition are discriminated against by current legal provisions.

Introduction to the Project

I am currently researching into the extent to which Law (particularly England & Wales, but also in Scotland and in other Common Law jurisdictions) discriminates against those born with an intersex condition.

About the researcher

Karen Dyer: I am currently a Lecturer in Law at the University of Buckingham, and Director of the LLM (Taught) Programme there. My main area of research is Medical Law, and I run the LLM Course on International Medical Law & Ethics. To date, I have written papers on organ donation & assisted suicide. I first studied law in 2004-5, when I completed a Graduate Diploma in Law at London Metropolitan University, and in 2010, I was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s scholarship to undergo my PhD research there. I have now been formally registered and have received ethical approval to carry out surveys & interviews, in this area.

Why are you writing to me?

I am asking those who have an intersex condition (or an affiliated condition, such as Turner’s Syndrome) to participate in a survey. The aim of this survey is to identify any areas of legal tension that an intersex person may face. For example, this could be issues with enforced operations and lack of consent, difficulties in changing a birth certificate, getting married, discrimination at work or discrimination in obtaining adequate, housing or healthcare.

What is the purpose in your research?

The current law is unfair to many of us in different ways, but unless these discrepancies are highlighted, and ultimately presented to Parliament, then nothing can be done about it. The purpose of this research to assess the fairness or otherwise of the current law, in relation to those who are born with an intersex condition. It may well be that you believe the law to be working fairly towards you. That in itself needs to be identified.

What do you want to find out?

If you have experienced any legal difficulties as a result of your condition, and would like to see the law changed then I would grateful for your input. I will need to know what condition you have, how this condition led to specific legal difficulties, and if you were offered any (suitable) legal advice/solutions at the time.

I am also interested in hearing from you if you haven’t had to face any legal difficulty connected with your intersex condition, as this will show that the law is working fairly for you.

You may like to comment on the phrases ‘intersex condition’ or ‘disorder of sex development,’ I am aware that being given such a label is on its own is a contentious issue.

How Can I Participate?

The most straightforward way would be for you to contact me by email so I can a survey which can be returned to me either by email or by post. However if you would like to meet or talk directly with me, then please contact me and we can arrange a suitable time and date either for a telephone interview or for a face-to-face meeting.

Will My Identity be revealed?

I have absolutely no intention of identifying anyone by their real name (you will be referred to as Person X or Interviewee 23 etc as you prefer) , unless specifically requested to. However, I will need to be able to discuss the bare facts, which you provide, to enable me to research into these legal anomalies in more detail. If you wish to see the relevant section before it is published then please let me know.

Thank you for taking the time to read this document. If you have any other questions then please email or write to me as below.

Karen Dyer: karen.dyer@buckingham.ac.uk

Lecturer in Law, Law School, University of Buckingham, Hunter Street, Buckingham MK18 1EG

My current supervisors are Dr Caroline Derry: c.derry@londonmet.ac.uk, Ms Anjana Bahl and Professor Peter Leyland.