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  • © 2019

Transgender Refugees and the Imagined South Africa

Bodies Over Borders and Borders Over Bodies

Palgrave Macmillan

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  • Makes the case that ‘transgender’, as a discourse and a politics, has materialised in South Africa in particular forms due to a combination of social, political and cultural conditions peculiar to the country

  • Provides the first in depth study of the lives of transgender refugees and asylum seekers from the African continent living in South Africa

  • Argues that the materialisation of ‘transgender’ in South Africa, in recent years, has lead to the emergence of what can be usefully termed ‘gender refugees’–people who can make claims to refugee status, fleeing their countries of origin based on the persecution of their gender identity

Part of the book series: Global Queer Politics (GQP)

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Table of contents (7 chapters)

About this book

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
  • gender and sexuality

Reviews

“This timely book unpacks the lived realities of being a transgender refugee or asylum seeker in South Africa; in doing so it contributes to important debates about sex and gender, ethnicity and nationalism, intersectionality, and identity. The text reveals specific meanings of 'transgender' in African contexts, and the perspective provided by the book enriches our understandings of gender, sex, and sexuality at an international level.” (Surya Monro, Professor, Department of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of Huddersfield, UK)

 

Authors and Affiliations

  • African Centre for Migration and Society, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

    B Camminga

About the author

B Camminga is Postdoctoral Fellow at the African Centre for Migration and Society at Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa. Their research interests include: transgender rights, migration, asylum and diasporas; necropolitics, notions of privacy & the bureaucratisation of sex/gender; and the history of ‘trans phenomena’ in South Africa.


Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook
USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-92669-8
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)