The Politics of Right Sex
134 pages
English

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134 pages
English

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Description

While the growing attention to trans rights and the development of trans-specific interest groups suggest that the time is right for a trans rights movement akin to prior civil rights movements, The Politics of Right Sex explores the limitations of rights-based mobilization and litigation for advancing the interests of trans communities. Synthesizing critical theory, transgender studies, and extant law and society research, Courtenay W. Daum argues that trans individuals, particularly those situated at the intersection of gender, race, class, and immigration status, are regulated by myriad forces of governmentality that work to maintain the sex and gender binaries and associated power hierarchies. Because many informal practices and norms are located beyond the reach of civil rights laws, a trans politics of rights may produce some modest legal and legislative reforms but will not eliminate the disciplinary forces that work to subject trans individuals. It will also privilege those who are able to conform with dominant gender norms at the expense of the interests of those individuals who are gender nonconforming, gender queer, trans people of color, and others unable or unwilling to embrace a transnormative presentation of self and/or lifestyle. In order to disrupt the dominant discourse and hierarchical power arrangements in pursuit of collective liberation for all as opposed to rights for some, The Politics of Right Sex advocates for a more confrontational approach that directly engages and challenges the hegemonic power structures that govern and discipline trans individuals.
Preface
Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part One: Transgressive Bodies

1. Binary Identities and the Construction of Privileged versus Transgressive Bodies

2. The Complexity of Gender Identities and the Dangers of the Politics of Right Sex

Part Two: Governmentality

3. The Illegibility of Trans Bodies: How the Mandatory Reporting of Gender Markers on Identity Documents Facilitates Governmentality

4. "No Men in Women's Bathrooms": De Jure and De Facto Policing of Sex-Segregated Bathrooms as a Means of Social Control

5. The War on Solicitation and Intersectional Subjection: How Quality of Life Policing Is Used as a Tool to Control Trans Populations

Part Three: The Limits of Trans Rights

6. The Viability and Efficacy of a Trans Politics of Rights

7. Trans and Queer Counterpublics and Transformative Change: Collective Liberation not the Politics of Right Sex

Notes
Works Cited
Index

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 01 août 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781438478883
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1648€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

the politics of
RIGHT SEX
SUNY series in New Political Science

Bradley J. Macdonald, editor
and
SUNY series in Queer Politics and Cultures

Cynthia Burack and Jyl J. Josephson, editors
the politics of
RIGHT SEX
transgressive bodies, governmentality, and the limits of trans rights
courtenay w. daum
Published by State University of New York Press, Albany
© 2020 State University of New York
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. No part of this book may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the publisher.
For information, contact State University of New York Press, Albany, NY
www.sunypress.edu
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Daum, Courtenay W., author.
Title: The politics of right sex : transgressive bodies, governmentality, and the limits of trans rights / Courtenay W. Daum.
Description: Albany : State University of New York Press, [2020] | Series: SUNY series in new political science | Series: SUNY series in queer politics and cultures | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2019036159 | ISBN 9781438478876 (hardcover : alk. paper) | ISBN 9781438478883 (ebook)
Subjects: LCSH: Transgender people—Civil rights—United States. | Transgender people—Legal status, laws, etc.—United States. | Gender nonconformity—Political aspects—United States. | Pressure groups—United States. | United States—Politics and government—2009–2017. | United States—Politics and government—2017–
Classification: LCC HQ77.95.U6 D38 2020 | DDC 323.3/30973—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019036159
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Contents
P REFACE
A CKNOWLEDGMENTS
I NTRODUCTION
Part One: Transgressive Bodies
C HAPTER 1
Binary Identities and the Construction of Privileged versus Transgressive Bodies
C HAPTER 2
The Complexity of Gender Identities and the Dangers of the Politics of Right Sex
Part Two: Governmentality
C HAPTER 3
The Illegibility of Trans Bodies: How the Mandatory Reporting of Gender Markers on Identity Documents Facilitates Governmentality
C HAPTER 4
“No Men in Women’s Bathrooms”: De Jure and De Facto Policing of Sex-Segregated Bathrooms as a Means of Social Control
C HAPTER 5
The War on Solicitation and Intersectional Subjection: How Quality of Life Policing Is Used as a Tool to Control Trans Populations
Part Three: The Limits of Trans Rights
C HAPTER 6
The Viability and Efficacy of a Trans Politics of Rights
C HAPTER 7
Trans and Queer Counterpublics and Transformative Change: Collective Liberation not the Politics of Right Sex
N OTES
W ORKS C ITED
I NDEX
Preface
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Obergefell v. Hodges (576 U.S. ___) legalizing marriage equality in the United States. Despite the immense joy I felt at this expansion of liberties for gays and lesbians and the affirmation that rights-based social movements and their use of the courts are a powerful mechanism for advancing interests (given that a single Supreme Court decision had the effect of overturning state prohibitions on same-sex marriage and opening the institution of marriage and the associated economic, sociocultural and legal benefits to everyone), this victory also comes with costs. It privileges homonormativity and distributes benefits to those couples interested in and/or able to enter into marriages, it expands the disciplinary power of the state, and the fight for marriage equality drained extensive financial resources and social capital that could have been used to advance various other pressing priorities within LGBTQ communities including pursuing economic justice, validating alternative family and kinship relationships, pushing to disconnect the distribution of benefits from legally sanctioned marriages in the first place, combating homophobic and transphobic violence, and so on.
In the days and weeks that followed the Obergefell decision, I reflected on what this legal victory would mean for the future and looming battles surrounding LGBTQ interests as well as the potentially negative consequences of this decision for many individuals within the LGBTQ communities. In particular, like many others, I worried that Obergefell would become the pinnacle of the gay rights movement despite the significant work that remains to be done in pursuit of collective liberation for all LGBTQ individuals, and I watched to see if attention and resources would shift to other causes and movements now that a major battle for gay rights had been “won.” As we now know, debates about trans rights have become more prevalent in the years following the marriage equality victory, and liberal gay rights groups and mainstream civil rights organizations have mobilized on behalf of trans individuals, suggesting that this is the next front in the battle for LGBTQ rights. As these events unfold, I find that I am increasingly pessimistic about the viability and efficacy of traditional rights-based movements for facilitating substantive change to include the growing push for a trans politics of rights. The election of Donald Trump as president in November 2016, and the confirmation of his two nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, further erode my faith in an imminent and successful politics of trans rights. While the motivations for pursuing equal rights and legal protections through legislation and litigation are logical, the reality is that any attempt to achieve recognition from the very institutions and people that benefit from your subjection is likely to be of limited utility.
As I pondered the Obergefell decision and the simultaneous pros and cons of the politics of rights, I was wrapping up final revisions on an article, “ The War on Solicitation and Intersectional Subjection: Quality-of-life Policing as a Tool to Control Transgender Populations ,” that examines how the selective enforcement of solicitation laws on transgender women of color—a phenomenon referred to as “walking while trans”—operates as a force of governmentality that is intended to remove transgender women’s bodies from public spaces. 1 This article moved beyond a critique of the state and individual law enforcement officers’ transphobia to argue that privileged members of society are complicit in these exercises of governmentality on intersectionally subjected transgender women. At the time, I did not know it, but that research would provide the theoretical framework for this book, and an updated version of the original published article now functions as chapter 6 of this book.
Synthesizing my growing pessimism about rights movements and their inability to facilitate substantive change and my interest in forces of governmentality as tools of population management and social control, The Politics of Right Sex argues that the politics of rights are of limited utility for marginalized communities because they are unable to reach the myriad forces of governmentality that work as a type of infra law—the informal and implicit norms and regulations that operate below the surface—to mark and discipline transgressive individuals in order to maintain extant hierarchies. In light of the increased public, media, political, and legal attention focused on trans rights post- Obergefell , this book examines how a politics of trans rights will be limited by the institutional constraints of hegemonic power structures and unable to reach the forces of governmentality that operate on trans people in contemporary American society. Furthermore, these forces of governmentality are not happenstance, but actually work in tandem with the politics of rights to ensure that privileged populations maintain power even if and when rights movements are victorious and the contours of civil rights laws change and evolve. In these instances, successful rights movements may find that legal victories and rights recognition translate into limited substantive gains.
Throughout the process of writing this book, I kept returning to Jacob Hale’s “Suggested Rules for Non-Transsexuals Writing about Transsexuals, Transsexuality, Transsexualism, or Trans ____,” in which he states that researchers who are not trans need to “[i]nterrogate your own subject position: the ways in which you have power that we don’t (including powers of access, juridicial power, institutional power, material power, power of intelligible subjectivity), the ways in which this affects what you see and what you say, what your interests and stakes are in forming your initial interest, and what your interests and stakes are in what you see and say as you continue your work.” 2 As such, it is imperative to make clear that as a cisgender woman I am not an expert on the lived experiences of trans people; trans individuals are the experts on their own diverse and abundant experiences. The field of transgender studies continues to grow from what was arguably its genesis in 1991 with the publication of Sandy Stone’s “The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto,” and trans scholars continue to make invaluable contributions to the academic and public discourses. These scholars are the authoritative experts on transgender identities and experiences. As such, I draw extensively on trans scholarship throughout the book, and I am indebted to the many trans, gender nonconforming, and queer individuals who shared

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