Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street, Room 574
  • October 2, 2019 from 4:10pm to 5:30pm

University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics Seminar Series 2019-20

Bernard Dickens, OC, PhD, LLD, LLD(hc), FRSC, Professor Emeritus of Health Law and Policy, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Medicine and Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto

Countries worldwide are increasingly expanding male/female binary sex classifications to recognize a third status. Intersex newborns may be included in this third category on birth certification. Parents, families and communities require counselling and education to accommodate intersex newborns without stigma or discrimination. Whatever its biological/genetic origin, intersex status is a natural if relatively uncommon condition (1 in 1500 to 2000 live births) that distinguishes sex from gender. The tendency of societies to recognize only male and female genders at birth has resulted in intersex children being subjected to invasive surgery and related sometimes lifelong medication to confirm them as male or female. On gaining maturity, some are severely distressed and resentful that early gender assignment was mistaken, particularly when excision of testes to enforce femininity or of ovaries to enforce masculinity has denied them procreative capacity. Emerging principles support postponement of such interventions until intersex individuals can make a gender choice for themselves.

These seminars are free and open to the public. No registration is required. Everyone is welcome either in person or via webcast.