Feminist and trans perspectives on identity and the UK Gender Recognition Act’

British Journal of Politics and International Relations 18 (3):671-687 (2016)
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This article examines Sheila Jeffreys’ analysis of the UK’s Gender Recognition Act (GRA) and her critique of trans identities. Situating her position within a wider radical feminist perspective, I suggest that her arguments against the GRA are grounded in a problematic understanding of sex and gender. In so doing, I defend how sex and gender are understood in the GRA. Furthermore, I show that radical feminist concerns about sex reassignment surgery and the complicity of trans individuals with stereotypical gender norms are unwarranted. By highlighting the importance of attending to the embodied dimensions of sex and gender, I offer a partial defence of the UK’s GRA. In particular, I note the benefits that it can offer to trans individuals, although I suggest ways in which the GRA can be improved. Finally, I challenge radical feminists who see trans theory and identities as inimical to the goals of feminism.

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Paddy McQueen
Swansea University


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