Cheryl Chase (Bo Laurent)

Classification: Emeritus | Speakers

Cheryl Chase was our founder. Her ongoing efforts to improve the social and medical treatment of intersexed people have been recognized with the year 2000 Felipa de Souza Human Rights Award, and in diverse publications and numerous television and radio programs including Newsweek, the New York Times, NPR’s Fresh Air, NBC Dateline, ethicist Alice Dreger’s Intersex in the Age of Ethics, social psychologist Suzanne Kessler’s Lessons from the Intersexed, molecular biologist Anne Fausto-Sterling’s Sexing the Body, and Pulitzer Prize winning medical writer Natalie Angier’s bestseller, Woman: An Intimate Geography.

In 1997 Ms. Chase produced Hermaphrodites Speak!, the first documentary in which intersex people speak openly about their personal experience. The film has been screened in dozens of film festivals on four continents, in university classrooms, in medical school grand rounds, and at professional conferences in medicine, ethics, psychology, and history.

In 1999, the Supreme Court of Colombia issued an historic decision establishing human rights protections for people born intersex, leaning heavily on Ms. Chase’s 10,000 word amicus brief.

A scholar as well as a patient advocate, Ms. Chase has by invitation delivered Grand Round presentations at Stanford University, UCSF, UCLA, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and others. Her presentation “Sexual Ambiguity: The Patient-Centered Approach” at the 2000 meeting of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society is considered an unprecedented patient-led breakthrough in medical reform. Her work has also been published in the Journal of Urology, Journal of Clinical Ethics, and Pediatric Nursing.

In 2005, Chase participated in the Intersex Consensus Conference which resulted in the 2006 Consensus Statement on Management of Disorders.

When Cheryl founded ISNA, in 1993, she knew that she planned to change her legal name, but had not yet decided for herself just what name to adopt. In 1995, she changed her legal name from Bonnie Sullivan to Bo Laurent. However, by that time “Cheryl” was beginning to be known. She worked on intersex issues using the name Cheryl Chase until 2008, when she began to use Bo Laurent in all aspects of her life.

Laurent moved on from ISNA to become a member of the Advisory Committee of Accord Alliance, established in March 2008 to promote comprehensive and integrated approaches to care that enhance the health and well-being of people and families affected by disorders of sex development.

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