The Transgender Exigency : Defining Sex and Gender in the 21st Century book cover
1st Edition

The Transgender Exigency
Defining Sex and Gender in the 21st Century

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 17, 2021
ISBN 9781032168203
December 17, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
288 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

At no other point in human history have the definitions of "woman" and "man," "male" and "female," "masculine" and "feminine," been more contentious than now. This book advances a pragmatic approach to the act of defining that acknowledges the important ethical dimensions of our definitional practices.

Increased transgender rights and visibility has been met with increased opposition, controversy, and even violence. Who should have the power to define the meanings of sex and gender?  What values and interests are advanced by competing definitions? Should an all-boys’ college or high school allow transgender boys to apply? Should transgender women be allowed to use the women’s bathroom? How has growing recognition of intersex conditions challenged our definitions of sex/gender? In this timely intervention, Edward Schiappa examines the key sites of debate and including schools, bathrooms, the military, sports, prisons, and feminism, drawing attention to the political, practical, and ethical dimensions of the act of defining itself.

This is an important text for students and scholars in gender studies, philosophy, communication, and sociology.

Table of Contents

Preface: Stronger Together


Part One: Definitions and the Transgender Exigency

  1. The Role of Regulatory Definitions
  2. A Brief History of Defining Sex & Gender
  3. The Transgender Exigency
  4. Part Two: Definitional Contexts

  5. Single-Sex Schools
  6. Bathrooms
  7. The Military
  8. Sports
  9. Prisons
  10. Feminisms
  11. Part Three: What Now?

  12. A Pragmatic Approach to Defining Sex/Gender

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Edward Schiappa is is John E. Burchard Professor of the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA


"Above all, this book provides a very basic service to our society’s vexed debates about transgender: it gives the empiricals. I have not come across a book that lays out the relevant factual background better than this one does. Through careful and detailed discussion of the particularities involved, Schiappa develops a pragmatic, moderate, and sensible approach to the main issues, culminating in his very helpful proposal to apply four different levels of gatekeeping to transgender people in different kinds of context. This moderate and context-nuanced approach is a sensible corrective to the ideological extremism that all too often comes from both sides." 

 - Professor Sophie Grace Chappell, Open University