After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, Dr Rogena Sterling taught English, set up an oriental medical college, and later established an English language school. Dr Sterling then went on to complete the Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws programmes at the University of Waikato.

Dr Sterling has just completed a PhD focusing on identity and human rights, considering intersex as the illustration of the need for protection and enabling of their human rights of who they are and how they come to be.

Outside of study, Dr Sterling has been tutoring Jurisprudence and Administrative Law, has taught urban planning law and governance, and has accumulated an array of expert knowledge in human rights, identity, privacy, and international law over the course of many years of study.

In addition, Dr Sterling has written a number of book chapters, worked on journal articles, presented papers at numerous conferences, completed a literature review, and participated on panels with the Human Rights Commission on Intersex.

Though an interesting and valuable field nonetheless, Dr Sterling’s interest in human rights comes from a life of personal experiences battling with them. Dr Sterling knew the feeling of being different from a young age and was made to live a life of shame and discrimination. Rogena felt both genders but wasn’t able to explain and make sense of life.

Experiencing a culture that so significantly highlights only male and female gender inspired the exploration into human rights, and how intersex people have been denied their basic human rights of dignity and personality through the sex identity that matches who they are.

Rogena is driven by the motivation of social justice, believing that identity is the aim and purpose of human rights and that intersex is just one example of why human rights are required and should be upheld.

Dr Sterling believes it is important for people to understand who they are and how they come to be, and also believes that human rights can project and enable that.