Steering and work groups

Advisory group

The advisory group supports the steering group by being available on for occasional consultation on decisions and questions as they arise. It includes people from a range of European (and other) countries who have a track record of work within the field in a scientific, academic or medical capacity, or in a support/advocacy role that goes beyond personal experience. It is currently made up as follows:

Suzanne Kessler: Dean of School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, Purchase College, New York, USA

John Achermann: Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist, Gt Ormond St. Hospital, London, UK

Lina Michala: Lecturer in Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, University of Athens, Alexandra Hospital, Greece

Carmen S.: Chair of Spanish AIS group GrApSIA

Julia Marie K.: Peer Counsellor for Parents of Intersexed/DSD Children; Master of Education (M.Ed)


The founder members started EuroPSI, following informal discussions at an intersex/dsd conference in Bologna (2011) and a network planning meeting in Hamburg (Sept 2013). The website went live in Jan 2014 and a further planning meeting took place in Macerata, Italy (July 2014). The inaugural EuroPSI members’ conference took place in London on 17 Sept 2014.


LIH-MEI LIAO I work part-time as a consultant clinical psychologist at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) where, with active encouragement from the UK Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group in the late 1990s, Gerry Conway, Sarah Creighton and I began to pioneer the first multi-disciplinary clinic for adults with intersex/dsd conditions. We have continued to synthesise our knowledge bases through research collaboration, multi-authored publications, discussion and debate tempered by humour. We hope we have moved from multi- to inter-disciplinary in our more integrated approach.

The multi-disciplinary model has been adopted by many more clinical services, but the psychosocial is often bolted uneasily on to a biomedical framework that remains complacent about societal pressures that drive normalising interventions. It falls on the psychological practitioner to engage the team to think critically. This is challenging at the best of times, let alone in professional isolation. Psychological practitioners in intersex/dsd teams are often poorly supported within their own professions, which remain ill-informed about intersex/dsd. This is a reason for EuroPSI.

I hope that EuroPSI will be an interesting space where psychological practitioners and researchers can contribute to stimulating debates about the relationships between dimensions of psychological well-being and aspects of clinical management of sex and gender atypicality.


KATRINA ROEN I have been doing academic research concerning sexuality, gender identity, and sexed embodiment for the past two decades. My work has been based in the context of health research, interdisciplinary social sciences, gender studies, and psychology. It draws from queer, feminist, and critical psychological understandings.

Some of my work relating to intersex appears in books such as Critical Intersex (edited by Morgan Holmes, 2009), and Special Issues of journals such as Psychology and Sexuality (edited by Liao and Roen, 2013) and Body and Society (edited by Doyle and Roen, 2008). I am also a founding member of Intersex Scandinavia.

I am currently a principal investigator for an interview-based study concerning the understandings that underpin current clinical interventions. The focus is on interventions relating to atypical sex development in children and young people in Sweden, Scotland, and England. This is being carried out in collaboration with colleagues at University College London Hospitals, University of Surrey, University of Oslo, and the Karolinska Institute (Sweden). Interviews are being carried out with health professionals who contribute to specialist multi-disciplinary teams, young people who have been through or are undergoing clinical intervention, and the parents of affected children. Collaborators in this research, who are also contributors to EuroPSI, include Lih-Mei Liao, Tove Lundberg, and Peter Hegarty.


MARGARET SIMMONDS I have been running the UK Androgen Insensitivity Support Group (AISSG) since the mid-1990s. The group was founded in 1988 by the mother of a child with CAIS but supports people with a wide range of intersex conditions. My main aims have been to promote diagnostic truth disclosure in intersex/dsd medicine (not common until the new millennium) accompanied by professional psychological support, and to empower affected people/families in their clinical interactions and everyday relationships via information and peer support.

The group has worked productively with clinicians at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) since being invited to speak at an intersex medical conference at the Royal Society of Medicine in 1995, and we were consulted by the team in setting up the world's first multi-disciplinary clinic for intersex adults in 1997.

I have a background in human physiology and biochemistry, and since the mid-1990s have been involved in a number of intersex/dsd research studies/publications, with an early focus of interest towards the psychosocial aspects. In 2012 I gained a PhD in sociology (gender studies) with a thesis based on the experiences of XY-women with conditions such as AIS.

After 20 years in this field I perceive a continuing imbalance -- between advances in biomedical expertise and the provision of specialist clinical psychology -- in what in most cases is arguably a psychosocial phenomenon. This prevents parents and affected adults from exploring meanings of an intersex bodily status outside of the medical paradigm of biological determinism, abnormality/disorder and correction.


FRANCO D'ALBERTON I work as a clinical psychologist at the Department of Paediatrics of Bologna University Hospital. I was first asked in 2000 to work in the field once called 'sexual ambiguity'. As a psychoanalyst and a child and adolescent psychotherapist, I was not new to psychological distress. Nevertheless I was struck by the level of emotional suffering linked to the medical secrecy that had been a standard practice in the field. An intersex/dsd diagnosis was felt to be too traumatic for the person, so much so that being in the dark was felt to be preferable. Talking more and more with people who have a diagnosis of differences in sexual development, I have come to understand that being informed about one's condition and being supported to make one's own choices can also be foundational for healing.

I am a consultant to, and honorary member of, the support/advocacy group AISIA, Associazione Italiana Sindrome InsensibilitĂ  Androgeni (the Italian Association for Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, and related conditions). I have also played a key role in the newly created It-DSD (the Italian Study Group for Differences of Sexual Development) a group of service users and health care workers from different disciplines working together in order to meet the challenges of differences in sexual development in society.


HERTHA RICHTER-APPELT I studied psychology and statistics at the University of Vienna where I gained a PhD in 1973. I subsequently trained in behaviour therapy at the Middlesex Hospital in London (now part of UCLH) and was a research fellow at the Universities of Bern, Konstanz and Hamburg. I gained habilitation (postdoctoral lecturing qualification) in clinical psychology (psycho-endocrinological gynaecology) in 1989. From 1984-1991 I also undertook training in psychoanalysis with the International Psychoanalytic Association.

Since 1997 I have been Professor of Sex Research at the Medical Faculty of the Hamburg University and work as lecturer and training therapist for Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Sex Research. I am currently Vice Director of the Department for Sex Research and Forensic Psychiatry, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf. I am also the diversity and equal opportunity lead for the University Medical Faculty Hamburg. From 1998-2003, I was President of the German Society for Sex Research (DGfS) and have been Vice President for the Society since 2007. I am a co-editor of the German Journal for Sex Research.

My publications have tackled a range of topics of psychological diagnostics, psychotherapy, sex research, sexual trauma, gender identity and intersexuality (diverse sex development, dsd), and because of my work in intersexuality, I was a participant in the 2005 Chicago consensus meeting.

Currently I am the principal investigator of the Hamburg Intersex Project that evaluates patient experiences and quality of life in people presented with different intersex/dsd conditions. I am also the co-initiator of the multi-national research project ENIGI that teams together Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Norway to examine diagnostic criteria for gender identity disorders.