‘An impossible dream’? Non-binary people’s perceptions of legal gender status and reform in the UK
journal contributionposted on 11.02.2022, 13:48 authored by Hannah Newman, Elizabeth PeelElizabeth Peel
The meaning and significance of gender is currently a focus of heated and, often, polarised debate in the UK and elsewhere. This article provides a new perspective in the gender debate through focused exploration of UK-based non-binary people’s perceptions of legal gender status and reform. Binary gender/sex systems, such as the legal gender system in the UK, are underpinned by cisgenderism and are challenged by those whose identity falls outside of the binary of woman and man. In contrast to most lay participants in the Future of Legal Gender (FLaG) project, the majority of non-binary participants reported support for reform (85.5% (n = 165) in favour) to the current UK legal gender system. Over half (57%, n = 110) were in favour of abolishing legal gender (i.e. the state would no longer assign a legal gender status), although this was constructed as ‘an impossible dream’. Situating non-binary people’s perspectives at the heart of the debate about the certification of gender offers novel insight which could have significant ramifications for how societal structures could support undoing gender in the future.
Reforming Legal Gender Identity: A Socio-Legal Evaluation
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