The matter of sex and gender: A dialogue between trans bodies and feminist theory




Stein, J.A.

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Despite significant social and political gains derived from gender theory, feminist scholars, progressive thinkers, and those in the transgender community do not critically examine the pre-supposed meanings of sex in gender theory. Instead, they simply assume its significance, thus erasing its complexity and inadvertently reproducing its binary status. In this paper, I use close analysis of theoretical texts to expose the foundational assumptions prevalent in prominent gender theorists who sometimes fall into the trap of pre-supposed sex signifiers. I explain why this tendency erases the terminology's complexity and inadvertently silences diverse trans identities. Arguing that these unexamined/unintentional dualistic perceptions of sex reproduce existing binaries, I demonstrate how and why such a dualism harms trans-people and produces disjunction between our lived realities and academic theory. I conclude by presenting new and alternative ways or perceiving systems of sex that are fluidly inclusive of broader identity categories.



Social sciences, Womens studies, GLBT Studies