Fourteenth International Symposium

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The Fourteenth International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children's Rights convened at the University of Keele, Keele, Staffordshire, England, United Kingdom on September 14-16, 2016.


  • Kitty Anderson is an Intersex activist based in Iceland. In 2014, she was one of the founders of Intersex Iceland and has served as the organisation’s Chairperson since. She has also served on the board of Samtökin 78 - The National Queer Organisation of Iceland--in 2015 as a board member and from 2016 as the Organisation’s International Secretariat. Since the fall of 2015, she has served as the Secretary of OII Europe and has had a place on the board of the Icelandic Human Rights Center since 2015, taking the position of Chairperson in May 2016. She has also served on Iceland’s Ministry of Welfare’s Queer Committee since 2014. Ice-land.78, the National Queer Organisation of Iceland, is involved in activism, the media and change in Iceland.
  • Gaye Blake-Roberts has an honorary doctorate from the University of Keele and was selected to be their inaugural President of the College of Fellows. The Fellows work as advocates for the University on a regional, national and international level.Gaye is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Museums Association. She is currently a Trustee to the Spode Museum, Chairman of the Raven Mason Trust at the University of Keele and Deputy Chair of the Trustees and Chair of the Academic and Curatorial Committee of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, Shropshire. For many years Gaye has been Curator of the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston. The new Wedgwood Museum reopened to the public in October 2008 and won the prestigious Museum of the Year Award in June 2009.Gaye has lectured extensively throughout Britain and has undertaken a number of tours in Australia, Japan, Italy and the United States of America. She has appeared on national and local radio and television and has contributed to numerous catalogues for major exhibitions and for a wide range of scholarly publications in England, Europe and America. Published books include Mason’s the First 200 years, Wedgwood Jasper (2011) and Wedgwood – The Illus-trated History of an Iconic Name in Pottery (2014). Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK.
  • Clare Chambers is University Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. She works on contemporary political philosophy, with particular focus on feminism, liberalism and theories of social construction. She is the author of numerous chapters and articles on topics such as autonomy, choice and consent; the body, appearance norms and cosmetic surgery; culture, religion and social practices; theories of justice. She is the author of two books: Sex, Culture and Justice: The Limits of Choice (Penn State University Press, 2008) and, with Phil Parvin, Teach Yourself Political Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (Hodder, 2012). Her third book, Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State, will be published by Oxford University Press in early 2017.
  • James Chegwidden is a barrister at Old Square Chambers, London. Old Square is a Band-1 ranked chambers in the fields of employment/equality law and is highly rated in the fields of clinical negligence and personal injury. James frequently acts for governmental agencies, including the Secretary of State for Health, the Home Office, the Cabinet Office and also for private individuals. In 2010, James worked as a lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg and prior to call to the Bar was Associate to Mr Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia. He was appointed Attorney General’s Counsel to the Crown in 2013. On issues of genital cutting, James was one of the most cited-participants in the State of Tasmania’s consultation on non-therapeutic circumcision of boys (2009); he acted as legal advisor to a delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the subject of genital cutting (2013); and most recently in 2015, James was junior counsel for the mother in the recent High Court (England and Wales) case of Re L & B on infant circumcision.London, UK.
  • John Dalton is the lead researcher and archivist for Genital Autonomy and 15 Square. He lives in Cumbria where he was born and was educated at Dundee and St Andrews Universities. He is a semi-retired nuclear safety consultant and a lay member of an NHS research ethics committee. He has a long-standing interest in the subject of genital cutting and has amassed an archive of over 6,000 documents related to the issue. Cumbria, UK.
  • Richard Duncker was born in Jamaica, educated in the UK attaining a degree in Fine Art and has spent most of his working life in editing documentaries and current affairs programmes for TV in the UK. In recent years, he has worked as a snowboard instructor and Yoga teacher, specialising in classes for older people. In 2004, Richard came across the NORM-UK web site and realised that his negative feelings regarding genital cutting were in fact a normal reaction to a very definite insult. As a victim turned activist, he has used his knowledge of the media to try and raise the profile of an assault on children that should not be tolerated by a society that purports to respect children’s rights. London, UK.
  • Marie Fox is Professor of Law in the School of Law and Social Justice at the University of Liverpool. Her research focuses on legal governance of human and animal bodies and legal theories of embodiment. She is currently working on projects which explore the policing of the human/non-human boundary and the role of technologies in mediating this relation and (with Michael Thomson) examining the ethics and legality of genital cutting. She is a coordinating editor of Social and Legal Studies. Liverpool, UK.
  • Fae Garland is a lecturer of law at the University of Manchester. She has been published in Edinburgh Law Review, New Zealand Law Review and The Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law. She and Mitchell Travis were awarded funding from the Socio-Legal Studies Association’s Small Grant Scheme. The grant enabled interviews to take place with a number of Intersex Organisations from around the world. Participants were asked to reflect on their experiences of law and the future directions that it could take. University of Manchester, UK.
  • Margaret Green is a founder Trustee and the Honorary Treasurer of Genital Autonomy. Following a music degree, she had a long career as a librarian and manager which culminated in the post of Assistant Director: Libraries, Information & Archives in Stoke-on-Trent and a Ph.D.[a 1] in Management Studies. On taking early retirement some years ago, she re-trained in speech-reading, audiology and developmental psychology and began work as a College Lecturer in Lip-reading Skills and Deaf Awareness. For the last six years she has worked exclusively in the charity sector in a variety of roles. She has been organising conferences, workshops and the Symposia since 2008 in tandem with the International Committee. Margaret is hoping that further research might be under-taken on the human rights issues highlighted by GA, on the psychological damage suffered by survivors and how we might influence and train psychologists to put in place some counselling or treatment to help. Stone, Staffordshire, UK.
  • Holly Greenberry, Co-Founder and Director of intersex UK, is a defender of human rights and an educator. She works to develop the growth of intersex UK as a charity, focusing on intersex education and consultancy. She also supports UK cross-party development, continues work to unify international policy, educates for bodily autonomy, peer support and equality for inter-sexed-bodied children and others.
  • H Eli Joubert completed his clinical training following a career in media where he produced radio and television documentaries in his native South Africa mainly focusing on HIV/AIDS education with some of his work mentioned in a report to the United Nations. His first clinical post was in an NHS Sexual Health setting working with men who have male sexual partners before taking on posts in forensic settings, mainly working with sex offenders, both in South Africa and the UK. In 2010, he was appointed a Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Maudsley Hospital Psychosexual Service. In this post he developed placements for trainee clinical psychologists and offered seminars and workshops to trainees from both Kings College and Oxford University as well as qualified psychologists and other mental health professionals. It was whilst working in this post that he gained a professional qualification as EFS/ESSM Certified Psycho-Sexologist in addition to being a Chartered Clinical Psychologist. He also holds several other professional registrations, including Associate Fellow and Registered Supervisor of the British Psychological Society, Practitioner Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council of the UK, Full Member of the College of Sex and Relationship Thera-pists, Member of both the British (BSSM) and European Societies of Sexual Medicine (ESSM) and list of specialist in Gender Dysphoria, UK Ministry of Justice – Gender Recognition Panel. In May 2015, he was appointed as Teaching Fellow (Clinical) at the University of Surrey where he now teaches doctoral trainee clinical psychologists. He has been in private practice, based at London Bridge, since 2012 and continues to do so. Clinically, he works with all psycho-sexual presentations and has a particular interest in gender dysphoria (including medico-legal consultations and reports), paraphilic disorders and adjustment disorder following physical changes to the sexual body, such as circumcision, radical prostatectomy and mastectomy as treatment for cancer and Peyronie’s disease. His research interests include ChemSex, premature ejaculation and sexual consent. Guilford, Surrey, UK.
  • Jackie Kilding, an Associate Specialist, is a member of the community paediatric team, who assesses and manages children with developmental delay and neuro-developmental conditions. She works closely with schools, school nurses, health visitors and therapists. The team provides 24-hour cover for child protection and advice to the local authority on safeguarding and looked-after children matters. Dr Kilding is also the named doctor for child protection for University Hospital of North Midlands, providing support and advice to colleagues and working with the Local Safeguarding Children Boards through their subcommittees. Child Development Centre, University Hospital of North Midlands. UK.
  • Tuomas Kurttila is the Ombudsman for Children in Finland. Kurttila holds a Master’s Degree in Administrative Sciences and Theology. Tuomas, born in 1978, has earlier worked at the Ministry of Education as the General Secretary of the Finland’s Advisory Council for Youth Affairs and before starting in his current position as the Executive Director of Finnish Parents’ League. He is a long-time member of the Advisory Council for Children’s Affairs, which supports the Ombudspersons for Children in his or her work. As Ombudsperson for Children, Tuomas has proposed a legislation that forbids the circumcision of boys for non-medical reasons. The Ombudsperson has proposed the initiative to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Currently, the circumcision of underage boys is regulated by a ministerial guideline but not by legislation. According to Kurttila, ministerial guidelines are not sufficient regulatory means since parents are not obliged to ask the children their opinion about circumcision in the current guidelines: the guidelines do not require the explicit consent of the child regarding the measure even though the child is unable to understand the significance of circumcision. According to Kurttila, every child’s right to physical integrity in the country has to be safeguarded. The Ombudsperson for Children in Finland reports annually to the government on the welfare of children and youth and the implementation of their rights. The annual report covers the activities of the Ombudsperson, the implementation of children’s rights, the development of child welfare, and shortcomings in legislation.
  • Antony Lempert, a GP partner in a rural Welsh border practice, has coordinated and chaired the UK Secular Medical Forum (SMF) since 2008. The SMF campaigns to protect patients from the imposition of other people’s personal beliefs in many areas of medicine, including forced genital cutting. Antony was the GP member of the Powys Local Safeguarding Children’s Board until it reconfigured in 2014. Since 2009, he has attended and spoken regularly at the BMA’s Annual Representatives Meeting and was elected chair of the Shropshire division of the BMA in January 2016. In 2012, Antony was invited to Geneva where he met with the chair and deputy chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) to discuss ritual male circumcision. He has spoken in Brussels at the European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Politics about women’s sexual health rights, has acted as an expert witness in a High Court right to die case and has participated in regular debates, including on radio and television. Powys, Wales.
  • Brendon Marotta is an award-winning filmmaker from Austin, TX, and a graduate of the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts Film School. The last feature he edited premiered at the Austin Film Festival where it won the Audience Award. For the latest on his current project American Circumcision, visit Austin, TX, USA.
  • Paul Mason is the current and foundation Chair of Australasian Institute for Genital Autonomy (AIGA). He is a family law barrister with over three decades’ experience and a member of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights. From 2007-2010 he was the Commissioner for Children for the Australian State of Tasmania. In 2008, with Dr Comfort Momoh of FGM support service FORWARD, he became inaugural joint Patron of UK-based global charity Genital Autonomy. Since then he has presented local and international papers on the law and universal human right of genital autonomy of girls, boys and intersex children. Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
  • Comfort Momoh earned her Masters degree from King’s College London (University of London) in Women’s Health and Health Promotion, is a Fellow of Royal College of Midwives (FRCM) and an FGM Consultant/Public Health Specialist with extensive experience of holistic women-centred care. She is a researcher of women’s health and a strong campaigner/supporter against domestic violence and for the eradication of FGM. Comfort established the African Well Woman’s Clinic at Guy’s and St Thomas Foundation Trust in 1997.Comfort acted as an expert witness for the All Party Parliamentary Hearing on Female Genital Mutilation for England and Wales in 2000 and for Scotland in 2005 and represented the World Health Organisation in the World Congress of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in October 2009 in South Africa (XIX FIGO). In 2008, she received an award from Queen Elizabeth II of England as a Member of BritishEmpire (MBE) for services for women’s Health and an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Middlesex University. Comfort provides training and conferences at local, national and international levels. She was invited by the Australian Health Minister to present on FGM at their FGM Summit in Canberra in April 2013. She is a visiting lecturer at Kings College London and the London Tropical School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Middlesex University. In November 2013, Comfort was awarded a scholarship by The Florence Nightingale Foundation Trust in UK to undertake a research study in America. She was included in the 2013 Health Service Journal BME Pioneers list that celebrates the influential leaders working within health care in UK, recognising and celebrating 100 outstanding Nigerians in the UK in the last 100 years, was recognised by HSJ on 9th July 2014 as one of fifty Inspirational Women in Health-care, was included in The 1000 most influential Londoners 2014 and 2015 by the London Evening Standard and in February 2016 was awarded 2nd prize by the British Journal of Midwifery. She is the editor of Female Genital Mutilation (2005). London, UK.
  • Maryam Namazie is a political activist, Spokesperson for Fitnah-Movement for Women’s Liberation, Equal Rights Now, One Law for All and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. She hosts a weekly television programme in Persian and English, Bread and Roses, broadcast in Iran and the Middle East. She is on the International Advisory Board of the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom; Humanist Laureate at the International Academy of Humanism; Committee member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran; Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and the Rationalist International; Emeritus Member of the Secular Humanist League of Brazil; a Patron of London Black Atheists and Pink Triangle Trust and a member of the International Advisory Board of Feminist Dissent. She has received many honours and awards. She has spoken and written numerous articles on women’s rights issues, free expression, Islamism and secularism. She has devoted much of her time working for refugees and human rights organizations. London, UK.
  • Tommi Paalanen is a Finnish Philosopher and Ethicist, whose major interests are philosophical sexual ethics, professional ethics, philosophy of law, human and sexual rights and sexual politics. He works as the Executive Director in the Sexpo Foundation, which specialises in training sexologists, providing counselling and therapy and engaging in sexual politics in order to advance sexual wellbeing. Tommi’s other notable positions are Chair of the Sexual Rights Committee of The World Association for Sexual Health, Chair of the Ethical Committee of the Nordic As-sociation for Clinical Sexology and Chair of the Committee on Sexual Ethics of the Finnish Association for Sexology among other positions of trust. Tommi is very fond of political activism to advance a positive, open and liberal culture towards sexuality and diversity in society. Helsinki, Finland.
  • Glen Poole is a writer, campaigner and practitioner whose work focuses on a broad range of issues. He is has written and spoken about the issue of male circumcision in the UK for several years, notably in the Daily Telegraph and on BBC Men’s Hour. Glen relocated to Australia in 2015 and founded the Stop Male Suicide project, an initiative that aims to enhance our capacity to prevent male suicide by improving levels of male suicide literacy at an individual, cultural and systemic level. As an international speaker, Glen has previously presented at a broad range of conferences, including the National Male Psychology Conference in the UK; TEDx LSE in London; the Gulf Comparative Education Society Conference in Dubai; the National Boys Education Conference in Sydney; the National Men’s Health Gatherings in Brisbane and Central Coast and the National Suicide Prevention Conference in Canberra. Sydney, Australia.
  • Rebecca Roberts is the Deputy Director, Marketing and Recruitment, at Keele University. She is passionate about developing effective marketing and communications strategies, integrating engaging content and bringing teams together. She enjoys exploring new platforms, ways of doing things and making sure ideas transform into imaginative, impactful and exciting work. Rebecca is experienced in high performance sport, working across media, marketing and PR, and more recently moved into Higher Education. She believes in bringing the best out of the toughest challenges and people. Keele University, UK.
  • Lloyd Schofield was a proponent for the San Francisco Male Genital Mutilation Initiative, which received nearly double the amount of signatures required for the 2012 ballot in the City and County of San Francisco. The initiative was removed from the ballot on a technicality as the result of a concerted lobbying effort conducted by the Jewish Community Relations Council and the American Civil Liberties Union. He is the current President of the Bay Area Intactivists, a grassroots 501(c)(3) charitable organization, which works to protect and defend the genital autonomy of all individuals, male, female and intersex, from forced genital mutilation through education, expanding visibility, creating forums and working with other human rights organizations. San Francisco, CA, USA.
  • David Smith is the Chief Officer of Genital Autonomy. He qualified in business studies and worked for a number of international companies before joining the charity sector in 2002. David was one of the founders of Genital Autonomy in 2008. As well as working for Genital Autonomy, he is also the General Manager of 15 Square, a charity helping men who have been damaged by circumcision. Previously he worked for Re-Solv, a charity dealing with problems caused by solvent abuse. He is a lay representative at the Keele University School of Medicine. Stone, Staffordshire, UK.
  • Rebecca Steinfeld, a political scientist researching the politics of reproduction and genital alteration, is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre of the Body at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is writing her first book, entitled Wars of the Wombs: Struggles over Reproduction in Israel, for publication with Stanford University Press. Rebecca has written and broadcast widely on male circumcision, including in The Guardian, Haaretz and on BBC Radio 3. Most recently, she has been working with bioethicist Brian Earp at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva, where they have been critiquing the contrasting global policies towards female and male genital alteration. Rebecca is also co-founder, with her partner Charles Keidan, of the Campaign for Equal Civil Partnerships in the UK, as well as co-litigants in a Judicial Review challenge to the Government’s ban on different-sex couples’ access to civil partnerships. These experiences have given her insights into the power and problems of using litigation to generate political change. London, UK.
  • Michael Thomson is a Professor of Law at the University of Leeds. He is a health lawyer with particular interests in children’s rights, the regulation of reproduction and the medical profession and theories and practices of embodiment. He is the author of a number of books on the body and gender as well as numerous articles that explore the shaping of children’s bodies and when and how we should limit parental choices and actions. He is Chair of Genital Autonomy. Leeds, UK.
  • Tiina Vilponen is a sexuality therapist and secular theologian. She works as a Communications Manager in Sexpo Foundation which specialises in training, counselling, therapy and politics in the field of sexuality and relationships. She is also the vice president of the Finnish Humanist Association. Helsinki, Finland.
  • Ann-Marie Wilson, PsyD in Psychology from American Pacific University (2006), graduated with a UK 1st Class Hons Degree in Cross Cultural Studies (Islamics, Gender, Anthropology & Gender) in 2009 and prior to that graduated in Business Studies. She has published papers on FGM in Journal of Gender Studies; Ekklesia Foundation, Kenya; Sexual Violence Research Initiative; and the Institute of Psychosexual Medicine. With more than 30-years’ experience, Ann-Marie founded in 2010 and runs an anti-FGM charity, 28 Too Many (, focussed on research, networks, capacity development and advocacy. 28 Too Many works closely with governments, NGOs and UN bodies and is an Associate Member of the UN Inter-African Committee, which has published FGM research reports on ten countries in East and West Africa. London, UK.



Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Gaye Blake-Roberts
  • An update from down under
Paul Mason
  • Child protection: Policies and practice
Jackie Kilding
  • Lunch
  • Legal developments and strategies for change
Michael Thomson
Rebecca Steinfeld
Marie Fox
James Chegwidden
  • Getting the message out
Rebecca Roberts
  • Dinner and a Murder Mystery: Who killed the doctor

Thursday, 15 September 2016

  • Activism, media and change in Iceland
Kitty Anderson
  • State responses to intersex embodiment: Challenges and opportunities
Mitchell Travis and Fae Garland
  • Break
  • Cultural v. cosmetic surgery: Challenging the distinction
Clare Chambers
  • Panel discussion
Michael Thomson, Moderator
  • Lunch
  • FGM: Can it ever be acceptable?
Ann-Marie Wilson
  • Developments in Finland and Nordic countries
Tuomas Kurttila
  • Break
  • Council of ex-Muslims and their role in changing minds
Maryam Namazie
  • First do no harm: Variations on a theme
Antony Lempert
  • American Circumcision: Trailer of upcoming feature-length documentary
Brendon Marotta
  • Raven Mason Suite: Reception, Welcome by Vice Chancellor of Keele University, Prof. Trevor McMillan, followed by Gala Dinner

Friday, 15 September 2016

  • Remembering Jonathon Conte
Lloyd Schofield
  • Understanding the pathways to male suicide
Glen Poole, presented by Margaret Green
  • Genital cutting and suicide: Is there a relationship?
John Dalton
  • Break
  • Professional ethics and genital mutilation
Tommi Paalanen
  • Moving towards a psycho-social framework
Holly Greenberry
  • Lunch
  • Consequences of FGM and deinfibulation
Comfort Momoh
  • Pathways to treatment
Speaker TBA;
  • Break
  • Considering the psycho-sexual impact of circumcision
Eli Joubert
  • Counselling and psychological damage
Tiina Vilponen
  • Rounding off the symposium: Looking at ways forward
David Smith

The proceedings of the Fourteenth International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children’s Rights, held at the University of Keele in Staffordshire, England, UK (2016), have not been published.


This symposium was organised by members of the International Genital Autonomy Symposia Committee.

See also

External links


  1. REFweb Doctor of Philosophy, Wikipedia. Retrieved 16 June 2021. (Also abbreviated as D.Phil.)