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Transforming Citizenships

Transgender Articulations of the Law

Isaac West

Publication Year: 2013

Transforming Citizenships engages the performativity of citizenship as it relates to transgender individuals and advocacy groups. Instead of reading the law as a set of self-executing discourses, Isaac West takes up transgender rights claims as performative productions of complex legal subjectivities capable of queering accepted understandings of genders, sexualities, and the normative forces of the law.
Drawing on an expansive archive, from the correspondence of a transwoman arrested for using a public bathroom in Los Angeles in 1954 to contemporary lobbying efforts of national transgender advocacy organizations, West advances a rethinking of law as capacious rhetorics of citizenship, justice, equality, and freedom. When approached from this perspective, citizenship can be recuperated from its status as the bad object of queer politics to better understand how legal discourses open up sites for identification across identity categories and enable political activities that escape the analytics of heteronormativity and homonationalism.
Isaac West is Assistant Professor in the Departments of Communication Studies and Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. 1-7


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pp. vii-9

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pp. ix-xii

I find it odd when authors thank their partners at the end of their acknowledgements because they are the ones who must live through the writing of a book. In my case, this convention would read especially strangely since our lives are so intimately intertwined as partners...

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Introduction: Transgender Citizenships

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pp. 1-35

In 2006, during my first summer in Atlanta, Georgia, sex-panicked residents in the gayborhood around Piedmont Park took it upon themselves to intensify their policing efforts and crack down on suspected criminal activities. At just under two hundred acres, Piedmont Park is...

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1. Performative Repertoires of Citizenship

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pp. 37-59

On November 14, 1955, Debbie Mayne, a male-to-female transsexual, started her lunch break with a walk through Los Angeles’s Pershing Square, a popular cruising area for gay men.1 Dressed in men’s clothing, she entered the men’s bathroom. After exiting the bathroom, Mayne...

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2. PISSAR’s Critically Queer and Disabled Politics

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pp. 61-88

For most able-bodied cisgenders, public bathrooms are functional, unremarkable places for eliminating waste.1 They may be judged to be spacious or cramped, clean or dirty, plush or industrial, but they are generally unreflectively entered, used, and exited as part of one’s everyday...

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3. INTRAAventions in the Heartland

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pp. 89-127

On January 22, 2004, Bree Hartlage, president of the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance (INTRAA), and John Clower, chair of Indiana Equality (IE), met with the mayor of Bloomington, Indiana, Mark Kruzan, to discuss the amendment of the city’s Human Rights...

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4. GENDA Trouble

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pp. 129-162

For better or worse, the struggle for same-sex civil marriage rights continues to dominate the agendas of many LGBT advocacy organizations. A quick glance at the websites, promotional materials, and mailers from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Lambda Legal (LL), and...

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5. In Defense of an Impure Transgender Politics

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pp. 163-194

Up to this point we have engaged how trans people employ legal discourses and redeploy the terms of these rhetorical cultures across a variety of domains. In addition to efforts to gain official state recognition, trans people negotiate the legal regulation of their bodies, the spaces in...


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pp. 195-229


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pp. 231-234

About the Author

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pp. 235-248

E-ISBN-13: 9781479826872
E-ISBN-10: 1479826871
Print-ISBN-13: 9781479832149
Print-ISBN-10: 1479832146

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 860711495
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Transforming Citizenships

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Transsexuals -- Political activity.
  • Transgender people -- Political activity
  • Transsexuals -- Civil rights.
  • Transgender people -- Civil rights.
  • Transgender people -- Identity.
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