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(Trans)gender outlaws?

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Abstract

In July 2016, Norway enacted a law that allows for one to determine one’s juridical gender without the previously required medical sterilisation. Widely heralded as a significant step toward complete gender equality, this was seen by many as finally resulting in legal equality for those who are trans. However, the law’s potential to empower the trans movement may be quite limited, given the lack of options outside the male/female binary and the absence of improved access to gender-confirming medical technologies. Such limitations, this article argues, preclude the law from either sufficiently addressing the needs of many transpeople or meaningfully challenging prevailing gender norms. How, then, can the law be celebrated as a landmark achievement for trans rights in Norway? This article seeks to explain the apparent contradiction by considering the law’s founding principles as they apply to the trans political landscape in Norway, in order to illustrate how the law’s inception and application have been informed by particular interpretations of identity, gender, and sex. Moreover, it analyses the potential impact of the law’s shortcomings on the people for whom it was meant to represent, using a queer analytical approach to understand how the law can empower some trans whilst further marginalising others.
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Keywords: Norway; gender equality; gender recognition law; gender self-determination; trans; transgender

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Het Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies is het forum voor de wetenschappelijke problematisering van sekse in relatie tot andere vormen van discriminatie en uitsluiting zoals etniciteit, seksualiteit, klasse of leeftijd. Er worden artikelen in gepubliceerd over gendervraagstukken vanuit alle relevante disciplines die een wetenschappelijke bijdrage leveren aan debatten over gender en intersectionaliteit in Nederland en Vlaanderen. Het tijdschrift is een interdisciplinair medium op het kruispunt van maatschappij-, cultuur-, geestes-, gezondheids- en natuurwetenschappen. Het verschijnt vier keer per jaar en biedt wetenschappelijke artikelen en daarnaast ook interviews, boekrecensies, discussiedossiers en opiniërende artikelen in het Nederlands en Engels. Artikelen worden dubbelblind beoordeeld door externe deskundigen.

    The Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies (Journal of Gender Studies) is a Dutch language forum for the scientific problematisation of gender in relation to ethnicity, sexuality, class, and age. The journal aims to contribute to debates about gender and diversity in the Netherlands and Flanders. The journal is an interdisciplinary medium operating at the intersection of society, culture, the humanities, health and science. The editorial staff is open to articles about gender issues from different disciplines, and also accepts English articles. As well as publishing articles, the journal includes essays, columns (short topical and polemical articles), interviews, reviews, summaries of dissertations and conference reports. Articles are subjected to a double blind peer review process.
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