This paper argues, first, that the legal construction of transsexualism is a matter of interest, not only to members of the trans community, but to all students of gender, including feminists. The paper then proceeds to explain and analyse, using feminist perspectives, key aspects of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in the light of the recent caselaw concerning the rights of trans persons. The 2004 Act, it is argued, is a conservative move, which attempts to deny the threat transsexualism poses to the binary system of gender, by instigating a system to formally ‘recognise’ only men and or women. However, the way in which the Act constructs the public/private divide and the mind/body relation carries potential for legal recognition of subject positions which may in a variety of ways be ‘beyond’ the binary system that is currently orthodox. The paper can as such be read as a case study in the legal (re)construction of gender, the gender/sex relation, and the widespread tendency to construct gender conservatively.
Key wordsfeminist theory fluidity of gender gender recognition sex discrimination social inclusion/exclusion transsexualism
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Butler, J. 1993Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”RoutledgeLondonGoogle Scholar
- Califia, P. 1997Sex Changes: The Politics of TransgenderismCleis PressSan FranciscoGoogle Scholar
- Collier, R. 2000“Straight Families, Queer Lives? Heterosexual(izing) Family Law”Stychin, C.Herman, D. eds. Sexuality in the Legal ArenaThe Athlone PressLondonGoogle Scholar
- Beauvoir, S 1953The Second SexAlfred A.Knopf/HarmondsworthNew York, PenguinGoogle Scholar
- Department of Constitutional Affairs, Response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights Nineteenth Report of Session 2002–2003 Draft Gender Recognition Bill (London: Department of Constitutional Affairs, 2003)Google Scholar
- Derrida, J. 1981PositionsUniversity of Chicago PressChicago, ILGoogle Scholar
- House of Lords and House of Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights, Draft Gender Recognition Bill Nineteenth Report of Session 2002–2003, H.L. Paper 118-I, H.C. 1276-I. (London: The Stationery Office, 2003)Google Scholar
- Jeffreys, S. 1998 “Heterosexuality and the Desire for Gender”Richardson, D. eds. Theorising HeterosexualityOpen University PressBuckinghamGoogle Scholar
- Raymond, J. 1998“Sappho by Surgery: the Transsexually Constructed Lesbian-Feminist”Hopkins, P.D. eds. Sex/Machine: Readings in Culture and Technology University PressBloomington, IN: IndianaGoogle Scholar
- Rubin, H 2003Self-Made Men: Identity and Embodiment among Transsexual MenVanderbilt University PressNashvilleGoogle Scholar
- Sharpe, A., 2002Transgender Jurisprudence: Dysphoric Bodies of LawCavendishLondonGoogle Scholar
- Sandland, R. 1998“Seeing Double, Or, Why ‘To Be or Not To Be’ is (Not) The Question For Feminist Legal Studies”Social and Legal Studies7307338Google Scholar
- Whittle, S. 2002Respect and Equality: Transsexual and Transgender RightsLondonCavendishGoogle Scholar