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Transgender Refugees and the Imagined South Africa

Bodies Over Borders and Borders Over Bodies

  • B Camminga

Part of the Global Queer Politics book series (GQP)

About this book

Introduction

This book tracks the conceptual journeying of the term ‘transgender’ from the Global North—where it originated—along with the physical embodied journeying of transgender asylum seekers from countries within Africa to South Africa and considers the interrelationships between the two.  The term 'transgender' transforms as it travels, taking on meaning in relation to bodies, national homes, institutional frameworks and imaginaries. This study centres on the experiences and narratives of people that can be usefully termed 'gender refugees', gathered through a series of life story interviews. It is the argument of this book that the departures, border crossings, arrivals and perceptions of South Africa for gender refugees have been both enabled and constrained by the contested meanings and politics of this emergence of transgender. This book explores, through these narratives, the radical constitutional-legal possibilities for 'transgender' in South Africa, the dissonances between the possibilities of constitutional law, and the pervasive politics/logic of binary ‘sex/gender’ within South African society. In doing so, this book enriches the emergent field of Transgender Studies and challenges some of the current dominant theoretical and political perceptions of 'transgender'. It offers complex narratives from the African continent regarding sex, gender, sexuality and notions of home concerning particular geo-politically situated bodies. 

Keywords

South African Constitution Transgender Studies in South Africa South Africa constitutional law Gender and South African society transgender asylum seekers global migration Trans Travel Gender Refugees Discourse of Transgender Cape Town NCGLE Refugee Act

Authors and affiliations

  • B Camminga
    • 1
  1. 1.African Centre for Migration and SocietyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Bibliographic information