Intersex & Sexuality Education
Intersex variations comprise atypical sex characteristics: be these chromosomal, hormonal or anatomical. They represent a challenge to traditional binary ways of thinking about the human body. All humans have the potential to have intersex variations, however only a proportion are diagnosed with them at or shortly after birth; in their developmental years; or later in life. These variations reveal in perhaps the most corporeal way that the traditional notions of sex as discussed in mainstream puberty and sexuality education may be overly simplistic and even contested on both scientific and social grounds.
People with intersex variations are often studied or referred to as a homogeneous group rather than in terms of specific variations – Androgyn Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) or Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), for example. This broad grouping together has given strength to activist re-framings of intersex experience — from having a disorder or difference in sex development, to being part of a wide spectrum of possible human bodies and sexual capabilities, sharing the human right to respect and autonomy. Anti-discrimination protections for people with intersex variations and calls for their inclusion in puberty and sexuality education are emerging at the international level: through the United Nations, in the work of activist groups; as well as in the work of some governments and educational bodies.
This special issue of Sex Education journal considers what is left out of current framings of sexuality education when it comes to sex, and how this affects the types of sexual activities sexuality education imagines and prepares for. It also considers what could be ‘put into’ sexuality education concerning intersex issues – whether this education occurs in the family, in schools and other settings, in health care contexts, in intersex peer groups, in online forums, or in the social media.
Our call for papers aims to question a number of established constructions of sex and sexuality education in the light of intersex issues. It seeks to bring to the fore alternatives for wider discussion and dissemination. We welcome education-focused papers including empirical research; theoretical analyses; legal and policy reviews; analyses of health, educational and community practices; critical and revolutionary visions of the future; and accounts that discuss practical examples of educational activities.
Questions authors might wish to engage with include
- What are the relevant international and national laws, policies and agreements related to education of people with intersex variations and sexuality education?
- Are the education goals and needs of diverse people with intersex variations currently reflected in local, national or state level sexuality education curricula, policies and approaches? Do diverse groups of people with intersex variations and/or their representative bodies agree on what these education goals and needs are, or how they are best realised?
- What is taught about the sexed body, puberty and development in sexuality education curricula, lessons, resources, textbooks and approaches? Is this content accurate, limited or in need of expansion? Are the bodily and developmental diversities of people with intersex variations historically or currently reflected in existing curricula?
- How can the realities of intersex peoples’ varying goals, needs and diversities advance sexuality education and broader educational theory, topics or methods in ways that are useful both for this group and for the wider field?
- Are people with intersex variations being misrepresented in sexuality education advocacy, theory and media? How, to what extent, and how can or should this be rectified?
- Who is the arbiter for intersex education representation and who can or cannot speak for intersex people or provide analysis on representation issues? Could a hard-line ‘nothing about us without us’ rule further the problem of educational under-representation for such population groups or place pressure on ‘outness’? How can such issues be overcome?
- What kinds of sexuality education need to be taught in schools and healthcare settings to ensure the bodily integrity of people with intersex variations and other goals? How can issues of intervention, reproduction and pleasure be re-imagined?
- What education activisms are people with intersex variations engaging in that are affecting sexuality education in areas such as resource creation, the mass media, social media, small social group sex education sessions etc.?
Articles may focus on:
- current and historic educational practices
- education in formal and informal spaces (including schools and health, home and community settings)
- actions and education by teachers, peers and/or intersex people offering useful models and examples.
The deadline for submission is August 31, 2020.
Manuscripts should follow Sex Education journal’s usual formatting guidelines.
Papers must not exceed 7500 words, inclusive of the abstract, tables, references, figure captions.
All articles will be peer reviewed in the usual way and only those that comply with the journal’s normal expectations will be accepted for publication.
If you would like to discuss your paper informally with one of the special issue editors, please contact (via email) one of the co-editors of the special issue.
Please submit your paper through the journal’s online submission and review site.
When you submit, please mark your paper clearly for consideration for inclusion in the Intersex special issue.
General enquiries about the journal can be emailed to the journal’s editor-in-chief, Peter Aggleton (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to the journal administrator, Fiona Thirlwell (email@example.com)