Intersex, Identity and Disability:
Issues for Public Policy, Healthcare and the Church
Researcher: Dr Susannah Cornwall
Intersex conditions, those where someone is born with a physical “ambiguity” of sex (such as atypical genitalia, or a disjunction between their chromosomes and their physical appearance), remain understudied by Christian theologians. In 2004, Susannah Cornwall undertook a PhD project at the University of Exeter to examine intersex in theological and ethical perspective. This thesis, entitled “No Longer Male and Female? The Challenge of Intersex Conditions for Theology”, drew on work from theologies of transgender, disability and queer theology. It was published in 2010 with Equinox Press as Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ: Intersex Conditions and Christian Theology.
In her new postdoctoral project with the Lincoln Theological Institute (2011-13), Susannah Cornwall is undertaking further theological analysis of the links between intersex and other types of “unusual” embodiment such as disability. She is conducting empirical work, through questionnaires and one-to-one interviews, about the faith community affiliations (if any) of people in Britain who identify as intersex and Christian. This work will be used to help communicate with groups such as hospital chaplains and social responsibility officers from the Christian denominations in Britain about the pastoral and spiritual needs of intersex people and their families.
Other project events include an international conference drawing together members of intersex support groups, scholars working on theology and sexuality, and those working in policy on gender and sexuality from the Christian denominations. The papers from this conference will be published by Palgrave Macmillan as Intersex, Theology and the Bible: Troubling Bodies in Church, Text and Society.
Please see the links to the right of this screen for further information on the project, including open-access resources, information for healthcare chaplains, press coverage, and latest news on the project blog.
If you would like to be added to the mailing list to receive updates on this project, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.