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Male, female or ...? Gender norms and the consequences for children and adolescents
24 September 2012 — 29 September 2012
Université du Luxembourg
Is it a girl or a boy? What if the gender cannot be clearly attributed – or when a child has the feeling of not living in the right body? Increasingly, the term "gender-variant persons" is gaining currency in science for such cases. It refers to intersexual people who cannot be unambiguously attributed to the female or male gender, or transgender people, whose gender identity deviates from their biological birth gender. What that means in childhood and on the road to adulthood is the subject of an international scientific congress being held in Luxembourg from 24 through 29 September 2012.
The congress, under the heading of "Gender Normativity and Effects on Childhood and Adolescence" is being organised by the University of Luxembourg in cooperation with the advocacy group "Transgender Luxembourg" and will bring over 200 participants together from all over Europe. The focus of the debate will be on gender-variant children and adolescents as well as children of parents whose gender identity or sexual orientation does not correspond to predominant normative ideas. It will open with workshops intended to sensitise midwifes, doctors, psychologists and parents to the issue. The subsequent scientific programme will comprise lectures and discussions on gender norms from the perspectives of biology, psychology, medicine, law and history.
Parents still bring up their children, frequently without realising it, to behave in a typically male or female way. "But a glance at everyday social life shows that transgender children, gay parenthood or trans-parenthood are no longer any exception and reflect the diversity of life projects," as Professor Christel Baltes-Löhr, an expert in gender studies at the University of Luxembourg, explains the theme of this research. The objective of the congress is to take the subject out of the taboo zone, call rigid gender norms into question and in that way set an example against discrimination of gender-variant individuals: "Instead of correcting the gender of a child that cannot be unambiguously classified at birth or deprecating and marginalising transgender children, their differentness should be respected and recognised."
For further information, registration or to download the conference programme please visit the website: