Charity Genital Autonomy is holding its next symposium at Keele University on 14-16 September, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Genital Autonomy is also a concept, sometimes defined as the freedom and moral independence of every human being to choose what to do with his or her sexual organs. This right can be removed from children for religious or perceived hygiene reasons, despite growing evidence showing that non-medical genital surgery is incredibly painful for children and does not protect against disease. Practices which are often discussed when looking at Genital Autonomy include Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and circumcision.

The charity’s aim is to promote, preserve and protect the health and well-being of male, female and intersex children by protecting them from unnecessary genital surgery or modification; and to promote the human rights of children in relation to genital surgery or modification as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights Of the Child throughout the world.

The symposium’s speakers are leaders in their fields and should make for a very interesting and progressive conference in an area where little research still exists. The conference itself aims to expand on new developments and take issues surrounding genital autonomy forward.

The agenda for the conference will include thought-provoking debates such as, “Cultural v. cosmetic surgery: Challenging the Distinction,” which has been put forward by Clare Chambers, who is University Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. The Abstract for her topic of discussion is added below:

“There is a general consensus in liberal theory, practice, and law that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a violation of rights and justice that should be banned. However, there is no such consensus about male circumcision or cosmetic surgery, including cosmetic genital surgery. These practices are legal in most liberal states and there is no general critique of them in mainstream liberal theory. This talk will consider and challenge the philosophical reasons in favour of distinguishing FGM from male circumcision and labiaplasty. There is no clear distinction between “cultural” genital surgery and “cosmetic” genital surgery, so that male circumcision and cosmetic surgery should be regulated in the same way as FGM.”

If you’d like to attend the symposium, you can book your tickets here.

Researching Reform is a passionate advocate of changing the culture surrounding FGM and circumcision. We wish the charity a successful few days.