We are delighted to announce that the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1665 "Sexdiversity - Determinants, meanings and implications of sex diversity in sociocultural, medical and biological landscapes" has been approved. It is led by the University of Lübeck (Spokesperson: Professor Dr Olaf Hiort) with the participation of Prof. Dr. Anna Katharina Mangold (EUF, Department of European Law). The CRC is initially funded for four years with almost twelve million euros. 27 researchers from the fields of medicine, biology and genetics, the humanities and social sciences will work on 17 projects to investigate the effects of biological sex - from medical issues to its socio-cultural significance in social contexts. Prof. Dr. Mangold heads the sub-project "Normative implications of human rights of persons with DSD in a non-binary legal world" together with Prof. Dr. Christoph Rehmann-Sutter (Uni Lübeck).


Sexdiversity; human rights; legal gender studies
01.04.2024 - 31.12.2027
Institutionen der EUF
Interdisziplinäres Europaforschungszentrum (ICES), Abteilung Europarecht


The project puts persons with DSD and non-binary persons centre stage. The decision by the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) of October 2017 on a "third legal gender category" has potentially far-reaching consequences for both gender-categorised law and the norms of medical practice, in particular those norms that regulate the treatment of children and adults with differences of sex development (DSD). The human rights-based approach of the FCC signifies a fundamental shift in how the state defines the social categories that constitute gender relations: an exclusively binary legal gender category matrix ignores the human rights of some citizens and must be given up. Their gender identities beyond the gender binary are now also legally recognised. Henceforth, the human rights of "persons who perceive themselves as neither male nor female" have to be respected, both in law and in medicine.

Based on and informed by the experiences and demands of persons with DSD and non-binary persons and taking a biographical perspective, we seek to improve the understanding of their situation, needs and views, to identify issues and to (re)formulate German legal norms and regulations in such a way that the human rights of people with DSD and non-binary gender identities are fully recognised and respected. We will use qualitative social research methodology, a hermeneutic-phenomenological approach to empirical ethics, and critical legal gender analyses.

Aims of this project are: first, to identify the most pressing areas of norms in law and in medical care that need to be changed so as to recognise and respect the human rights of persons with DSD and non-binary persons according to the FCC ruling (de lege lata); second, based on the experiences and aspirations, desires, demands and requests of persons with DSD and non-binary persons, then to develop a comprehensive legislative programme to change the current gender-binary law and medical regulations in a way that best promotes the human rights of persons with DSD and non-binary persons (de lege ferenda).

The project is organised into three work packages that will run concurrently: (1) A qualitative interview study of persons with diverse DSD conditions and non-binary persons, using an empirical bioethics approach in a hermeneutic-phenomenological perspective. (2) Legal comparisons with countries that have already started to develop a legal framework beyond the gender binary; international conference with legal experts and community members from countries more progressive in their approaches to legal gender regulation. (3) Exploration of the German legal framework set out by the FCC and of the existing legislation and medical regulations; identification of problems and areas of German law and medical practice in need of immediate change de lege lata; development of a legislative programme de lege ferenda.



Platzhalter-Foto für Nick Markwald

Nick MarkwaldAss. jur.

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