Gender demonstranten, foto: delia giandeini via Unsplash

Personal law

Sex (or gender) as a legal category has received a lot of attention in recent years. The registration of gender on the birth certificate is increasingly under discussion, also in politics. The issue is comprehensive: it is not limited to the impact that the binary (m/f) legal construction of sex has on transgender and intersex individuals. It also affects the position of and relationships between people whose sexual orientation deviates from the dominant standard of monogamous heterosexuality. In addition, the issue is of fundamental importance for women’s (and men’s) emancipation. These issues are viewed in their coherence: gender inequality affects everyone, but not always in the same way. Feminist and ‘queer’ theories offer suitable perspectives for research into this field.

Marjolein van den Brink, Lorena Sosa and Jet Tigchelaar focus on various aspects of this issue. Van den Brink and Tigchelaar have conducted various investigations into legal gender (registration) in recent years on behalf of several ministries.

Other current legal issues related to gender are, for example, the impact of gender stereotype expectations and practices on the chances of migrants of all genders. Van den Brink researches the possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration in the project ‘Gender, Sexuality and Migration’, together with researchers from social sciences and geosciences. The GIRARE project (‘Gender Identity Registration And Human Rights Effects’) is an interdisciplinary collaboration with Gender Studies concerning personal law, in particular personal data and, given the human rights developments in transgender and intersex matters, the current question of whether, and if so how, gender ought to be registered.

Lorena Sosa’s research interest lies in the inclusiveness of human rights norms and, as such, she looks into gender discrimination and violence from an intersectional perspective. In relation to family law, she investigates the tension between human rights standards and potential cisnormative views rooted in family law. Her current research explores legal responses to trans and intersex persons suffering violence and discrimination, including children. Topics of interest in this field that are connected with family law include the right to identity and to self-determination, the right to privacy and to a family life and child-parent relationships.

Missing persons

A less common issue is that of the legal status of missing persons and the legal consequences of this for family left behind; a subject that has been researched in the book: W.M. Schrama, M. Jonker & C. Jeppesen de Boer, De regeling en rechtsgevolgen van vermiste personen, Den Haag: WODC/ Boom Juridische uitgevers 2018.