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Transforming CitizenshipsTransgender Articulations of the Law$
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Isaac West

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781479832149

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479832149.001.0001

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In Defense of an Impure Transgender Politics

In Defense of an Impure Transgender Politics

Chapter:
5 In Defense of an Impure Transgender Politics
Source:
Transforming Citizenships
Author(s):

Isaac West

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479832149.003.0006

This concluding chapter focuses on a cover story from the New Republic that declared transgender rights to be the next great civil rights issue. A close reading of the cover image and the accompanying story allows one to engage the limits of left legalism—the practice of articulating “broad-based, locally, and culturally rich movement politics to demands for state-enforced rights.” It translates “wide-ranging political questions into more narrowly framed legal questions” and prematurely foreclosing the possibilities for “open-ended discursive contestation.” The remainder of the chapter discusses concepts connected to citizenship, including agency, recognition, and norms. For instance, when citizenship is viewed as performatively produced relationalities among families, friends, and strangers, legal recognition is transformed as it is practiced.

Keywords:   New Republic, transgender rights, left legalism, relationalities, legal recognition

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