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Queer Cases Unmake Gendered Law, or, Fucking Law’s Gendering Function

Baars, G. ORCID: 0000-0001-7414-3854 (2019). Queer Cases Unmake Gendered Law, or, Fucking Law’s Gendering Function. The Australian Feminist Law Journal, 45(1), pp. 15-62. doi: 10.1080/13200968.2019.1667777


Law’s role in upholding and continually reproducing the cisheteropatriarchy is increasingly being challenged in Western courts. This is happening directly, by ‘non-gendered’ claimants wishing to undo law’s compulsory gender performance, and by ‘birthing men’ seeking to queer law’s gender binary. Indirectly ‘fucking’ law’s gendering function are the defendants in the so-called ‘gender deception’ prosecutions. Here we see the judicial system reasserting its hegemony as heteronorm-maker and enforcer. A different face of state pushback against queer anti-normativity shows in accommodation: several European courts have recently ordered the creation of a third gender option. This paper evaluates these ‘queer cases’, and asks what the queer struggle with the heteronormative can tell us about law’s social function, its relationship to the body, its material effects and emancipatory potential more broadly. Can we queer the legal structures that seek to know, categorise, assign, police and contain our genders and sexualities or is now the time to say ‘fuck law’?

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The Australian Feminist Law Journal on 27 Nov 2019, available online:
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > International Law and Affairs Group
Text - Accepted Version
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