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Social/Cultural Change and Transgender Citizenship
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Dr Sally Hines
Sociological Research Online: Special Edition on Changing Femininities,Changing Masculinities
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The paper charts the ways in which transgender has emerged as a subject of increasing social and cultural interest in recent years. Shifting attitudes towards transgender people are also evident through recent legislative changes brought by the Gender Recognition Act (2004). These social, cultural and legislative developments reflect the ways in which gender diversity is acquiring visibility in contemporary society, and suggest that gender diverse people themselves are experiencing greater levels of social inclusion. The paper argues that while the Gender Recognition Act marks a significant shift in socio-legal understandings of 'gender' as distinct from 'sex', it problematically remains tied to a medical perspective of transgender that continues to marginalise practices of gender diversity. The paper thus proposes caution against an assured trajectory of (trans) gender transformation and social change. Rather, normative binary understandings of 'gender' underpin recent social and legislative shifts, giving way to individual and collective tensions around the desirability of assimilation. In turn these issues produce divergent ways of living as 'new' women and men.
Sage Publications Ltd.
Single authored social theory paper in a peer reviewed journal, which focuses upon theoretical, empirical and methodological topics that engage with current political, cultural and intellectual debates. The article contributes to recent sociological debates about gendered identity constructions and formations, and gendered citizenship. It engages with the body of literature on gendered and sexual citizenship, and examines these theoretical developments in light of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). It argues that while the Act marks a significant shift in socio-legal understandings of 'gender' as distinct from 'sex', it problematically remains tied to a medical perspective of transgender that continues to marginalise practices of gender diversity. The article thus proposes caution against an assured trajectory of (trans) gender transformation and social change. The article develops and extends previous theoretical work on citizenship and maps out new ways of thinking about transgendered citizenship. The paper was given at the 6th International Gender Conference in Poland in 2006.
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