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UK Government calls for evidence on people who have variations in sex characteristics

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Staff Writer | January 19, 2019
Chromosomes
Britain   These variations are present from birth and may be chromosomal

The UK Government Equalities Office is launching a call for evidence on the experiences of people who have variations in sex characteristics.

Variations in sex characteristics (VSC), sometimes referred to as ‘intersex’ or ‘differences in sex development’, is an umbrella term used to describe physical sex development which differs from what is generally expected of males or females.

These variations are present from birth and may be chromosomal, gonadal, anatomical or hormonal.

Depending on the individual case, these differences may be visible at birth or untraceable until puberty, or even later in life.

Research from clinical experts suggests the ‘number of people born with atypical genitalia may be as high as 1 in 300 births, but the birth prevalence of a condition that may lead to true genital ambiguity on expert examination may be as low as 1 in 5000 births.’

The call for evidence is designed for VSC individuals, their parents, carers, and legal guardians, and professionals and service providers to share their views and experiences on:

- Terminology – the terms people prefer using to describe having variations in sex characteristics

- Healthcare – how decisions are made around medical interventions and how healthcare services could be improved

- Education – how people with variations in sex characteristics experience school and how the education system could be improved

- Support services – what support, if any, affected individuals and their families receive and how support services could be improved

- Issues faced in day to day life – people’s experiences of being in the workplace, of claiming benefits and using sport and leisure services

- Sex assignment, birth registration and correcting birth certificates – whether people have changed their birth certificate if the sex was incorrectly assigned at birth and parent’s experiences of registering a child’s birth

- Any other issues they have faced and want to raise

The call for evidence will run for 10 weeks from 17 Jan to 28 March 2019 and is open to anyone to respond.


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