This time for my annotated bibliography I focused less on the process of obtaining citizenship and the social ramifications of citizenship and more on the way that identity politics works through national systems to enforce hetero norms. Identity politics basically categorize different groups and, when faced with an individual, force that individual into one of the existing groups. This includes groups defining sexuality. Identity politics are produced by and produce the heterosexual norms that marginalize queer citizens, in essence disenfranchising them. My three sources here explore different ways this happens, through laws passed with the best intentions and through surveys designed to help solve this very problem.
This is a paper describing a social experiment of surveying queer community members in hopes of reaching some understandings of political and demographic information on queer members of the community. The goal of this survey was to understand how to give queer and other marginalized citizens a voice in the political process that works to keep them marginalized. The survey was distributed to various large metro areas around the US, including the twin cities here in Minnesota. The paper also discusses the enormous amount of obstacles facing this task ; it was in some ways impossible to get outside of the white, male perspective which surrounds so many social systems, such as the mail system, the government, and the form of surveying itself.
I think the task described by this article- of trying to survey a queer population- is problematic, but also could be positive. It is problematic because of the identity politics invloved with categorizing a queer population. Who, how, why are the people defined as such ? As altruistic and well-meaning as the executors of the survey were in trying to approach the subject, the identification of someone as queer as a means of political categorization seems counter-intuitive considering the term queer. However, the goal of political representation for queer citizens as a means of ending or ameliorating marginalization is simply one way to acheive a goal that to me seems commendable.
Rollins, Joe. and Hirsch, Harry. "Queer Citizenship?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2002 Online <.PDF>. 2009-11-16
This is a copy of the Gender Recognition Act passed in the UK in 2004. This law basically outlines the legal path that a person in the UK can follow to change their gender. This person applies for and is then granted a gender recognition certificate, which changes the gender on their birth certificate and other legal documents. The act also outlines the evidence necessary before recieving a gender recognition certificate.
Like my first source, this act is wrought with issues and in dire need of queer analysis. First, the point of the act is clearly as a means of helping people gain the ability to choose their gender versus being ascribed a gender at birth with no way to go about changing it later in life. This can be helpful to someone who wishes to change gender, but remain within a system of binary male/female gender. Second, this act perhaps works more towards enforcing heterosexual dominance than helping those outside of heterosexual norms. Although there is a choice of which gender to be, every person is still forced to choose between these two genders. Third, evidence is needed as proof of a person's gender prior to recieving a gender recognition certificate. There are various rules delineating how much evidence is necessary given certain factors. However, the neccessity of evidence contributes to thoughts that there are certain indicators of how gender is decided. These are all social and cultural problems that are woven into this government act which legally affects the sexuality of citizens.
United Kingdom. Office of Public Sector Information. Gender Recognition Act 2004. 2004 Chapter 7.
My third source is a paper outlining court decisions which have surrounded transsexuals involved in relationships later being accused of hiding their gender from their partner, impersonating a person of another gender or raping their partner. The article also highlights the conflict between the ways that different groups viewed these rulings; lesbian feminist groups and queer groups both saw the rulings as an infringement on rights in different ways. Queer groups saw this as a gender issue, a person's ability to choose gender, feminist groups saw it as a partner choice, a person's ability to choose their partner. Also the paper shows the ways that these rulings really control through legal ways how a person's sexuality can be expressed and that is typically only through heterosexual norms.
This article was really interesting to me in the sense that it contrasts these differences in the way that two groups fighting against the criminalization of sexual acts by marginalized groups can be fighting each other at the same time. The difference in the goals between feminist aims and queer aims is very large and yet, they are both just fighting a heteronormative society in different ways. These rulings are very disturbing and they are sometimes overturned later. However, this is a perfect example of how a transgender person does not have a voice or a safe place within the government system of a hetero based society. I think also that the feminist way of fighting this ruling, while resisting hetero norms, is still enforcing a belief in identity politics because it is defining gay versus straight, which is just as limited as straight.
Gross, Aeyal. "Gender Outlaws Meet the Law: Feminism and Queer Theory at the Borderlands" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The Law and Society Association, TBA, Berlin, Germany, Jul 25, 2007. Accessed Nov 16, 2009.