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If the state decertified gender, what might happen to its meaning and value?

Cooper, D. & Renz, F. (2016). If the state decertified gender, what might happen to its meaning and value?. Journal of Law and Society, 43(4), pp. 483-505. doi: 10.1111/jols.12000


As jurisdictions reform gender identity laws to accommodate transgender and intersex people, this article speculatively explores a more fundamental shift: eliminating state law’s role in determining and assigning gender status altogether. Adopting a feminist perspective, we explore what the meaning and effects of comprehensively reforming legal gender might be in terms of gender’s constitution as a socio-legal property, differentially recognised and protected by diverse but unequal bodies. Our discussion proceeds along two intersecting paths. The first concerns the different classificatory methods which could enable state law, without assigning gender, to continue to regulate gender identity decisions, thereby allowing state law to remain involved in tackling gender discrimination. The second concerns the changing form gender might take in conditions where state law withdraws its allocative function. These paths converge in a final discussion which considers what legal and political effects might follow from gender becoming a property that is individually and collectively cultivated.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Cooper, D. and Renz, F. (2016), If the State Decertified Gender, What Might Happen to its Meaning and Value?. Journal of Law and Society, 43: 483–505., which is published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Subjects: K Law
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
SWORD Depositor:
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