1st Edition

Self-Declaration in the Legal Recognition of Gender

By Chris Dietz Copyright 2023
    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    Self-Declaration in the Legal Recognition of Gender examines the impact of legislation premised upon the principle of ‘self-declaration’ of legal gender status.

    Existing doctrinal and comparative analyses have tended to come out strongly in favour of, or against, self-declaration. This book offers a socio-legal alternative which focuses on how self-declaration is experienced, on an embodied level, by trans and gender diverse people. It presents research conducted in Denmark, which became the first European state to adopt self-declaration in June 2014. By analysing Danish law through a Foucauldian framework which brings together socio-, feminist, and trans legal scholarship on embodiment and jurisdiction, the book offers the first empirically based and theoretically informed analysis of self-declaration. It draws upon legal consciousness, affect theory, vulnerability, and governmentality literatures to argue that the jurisdictional boundaries which existed between law and medicine were maintained throughout the reform process. This limited the impact of the legislation, enabling access to health care to be restricted in the same year in which amending legal gender status was liberalised. As the list of states that have adopted self-declaration increases, this intervention offers activists and policymakers insights which might shape how they respond to similar reform proposals in the future.

    A timely and important assessment, this book will appeal to researchers and practitioners working in trans, gender, feminist legal, and socio-legal studies.


    1 Introduction

    2 Theorising legal embodiment

    3 Legal consciousness of embodiment

    4 Visibility and progress in trans rights

    5 Vulnerability in medical institutions

    6 Governmentality and managing trans health



    Chris Dietz is Lecturer at the Centre for Law & Social Justice, University of Leeds, UK.

    "Self-Declaration cuts through frequent misunderstandings around ‘gender ‘self-ID’’. It gets behind the headlines, reflecting upon what experiences of the categories of sex and gender mean for law. Dietz's concept of ‘legal embodiment’ explores how bodies become sites of regulation. Based on original research in Denmark, the book brings the voices of those seeking – and resisting – gender recognition into sharp focus." Sally Hines, Department of Sociological Studies, The University of Sheffield, UK

    "Understanding the juridical situation of trans people in Denmark and worldwide has never been more urgent. Self-declaration makes an important contribution to this area. Its theoretical scope – which draws upon feminist theory, affect theory, and studies of governmentality – constitutes a novel intervention into discussions of trans identities and justice. This book will be invaluable to researchers, stakeholders, and the public." Mons BissenbakkerDepartment of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

    "Dietz gives us a timely investigation of the self-declaration model for gender recognition. His socio-legal study provides a fresh perspective on the exercise of medical and legal power, and how trans people adapt to, resist or reshape this configuration. Sophisticated, but accessible, radical, but pragmatic, Self-Declaration will be an essential resource for all concerned with the future of gender." John Harrington, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University, UK

    "In Self-Declaration, Dietz neither romanticizes the fact of legal recognition nor forgets the continued power of institutions like the state and the hospital. The result is a refreshing, sophisticated integration of transgender studies, legal studies, and feminist theories that is a must-read for anyone trying to understand what changes in the legal regulation of gender will mean in practice." Anna Kirkland, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan, USA