Performing Gender: The Contemporary Gender Agenda

    • Nice November 2018
    • Presentation speakers
      • Shaminder Takhar, London South Bank University, London, UK


    The aim of this paper is to contribute to the discussion about gender politics which is not solely focused on women’s oppression but also on trans liberation. Transgender and gender fluidity is nothing new. There is a complexity to the debates and I will try to outline them in this paper. In particular, it is the threat of trans rights to the struggle for rights that some feminists speak about. The paper also looks at how concepts such as cis, transgender, gender fluidity, non-binary and gender dysphoria have emerged in our vocabulary. The second part of the paper concerns Judith Butler’s work Gender Trouble which uses concepts such as performing and performative. It examines whether they are useful in my analysis of gender / transgender issues. The third section looks at the feminist vs. transgender debate, especially in connection with a group of radical feminists who have become known as TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists). Finally the paper will discuss how some feminist thinkers have commented on the fact that there are many ways of being female and male, masculine or feminine with trans people widening the spectrum of gender expression. The paper asks if ‘we are moving away from only the binary boxes of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ and begin to live along the full continuum of identity and expression. In 2103, 700 feminists issued a statement for trans-inclusive feminism and inclusion women’s spaces. This is a step forward and highlights the question asked by Angela Davis: who are we talking about when we say women? She commented on the exclusivity of the feminist movement and poses an interesting question about the oppression and struggle faced by a black trans woman.