Sex in Transition
Remaking Gender and Race in South Africa
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: State University of New York Press
Sex in Transition: Remaking Gender and Race in South Africa
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This book has developed over fifteen years and was a collective labor in every way. Without many people in South Africa, this work simply would not have been possible. Midi Achmat, Theresa Raizenberg, Bass John Khumalo, Conny Mchunu, Phumla Masuku, Donna van der Walt, Michelle Asburner, Barbara...
Introduction: Transition Matters
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In 1994, transsexual Simone Heradien underwent sex reassignment procedures funded by the South African state. The timing of her personal transition was significant: 1994 . . . was also the year we were going through the democracy, the transition, so it was a lot of things. . . . When we were going through...
Chapter 1: Prescribing Gender and Enforcing Sex
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Under apartheid, many South African transsexuals had access to publicly funded sex reassignment surgeries and were allowed to legally alter the sex listed on their birth certificates. But since the end of apartheid, most public sex...
Chapter 2: Medical Experimentation and the Raced Incongruence of Gender
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During the transition to democracy, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) revealed that apartheid medicine encompassed atrocities such as forced sterilization, nonconsensual experimentation, and medical torture. Africanist Meg Samuelson describes this context as providing “a space in which the...
Chapter 3: Redefining Transition through Necropolitics
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This chapter develops the theoretical frameworks of Chapters 1 and 2 in a new direction. Foucault’s notions continue to be useful and relevant to these considerations of mobile or restricted experiences of the temporality of sex, describing states’ regulations of bodies. But how can his traveling theories be extended and...
Chapter 4: Stabane, Raced Intersexuality and Same-Sex Relationships in Soweto
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How does one prove the “realness” of a body? What kinds of evidence create this reality? And how do such realities, in the sense that narrators and Mbembe articulate in the previous chapter, shift and change over time? This chapter examines cocreated visions of the realities and meanings of gendered bodies—how they look, function, and are experienced— through a consideration...
Chapter 5: Performing Hierarchies and Kinky Politics: Drag in South Africa’s Transition
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In January of 1997, three years after the official end of apartheid, the Top of the Times/J&B Met contest for “Most Elegant Couple” in South Africa progressed as usual with twenty-three couples competing for prizes including money and exclusive fashion creations. However, the Cape Argus newspaper reported...
Conclusion: “Extra-Transsexual” Meanings and Transgender Politics
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In the 1990s and early 2000s, the word “transgender” was rarely spoken in South Africa. Gender liminality was largely medicalized and criminalized, and it fell outside the purview of activism. In interviews, doctors told me stories of celebratory parties thrown for their postoperative patients, while self-identified transsexuals shared concerns about their inabilities to attain legal...
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2012