Goes beyond transgender to question the need for gender classification.
Beyond Trans pushes the conversation on gender identity to its limits: questioning the need for gender categories in the first place. Whether on birth certificates or college admissions applications or on bathroom doors, why do we need to mark people and places with sex categories? Do they serve a real purpose or are these places and forms just mechanisms of exclusion? Heath Fogg Davis offers an impassioned call to rethink the usefulness of dividing the world into not just Male and Female categories but even additional categories of Transgender and gender fluid. Davis, himself a transgender man, explores the underlying gender-enforcing policies and customs in American life that have led to transgender bathroom bills, college admissions controversies, and more, arguing that it is necessary for our society to take real steps to challenge the assumption that gender matters.
He examines four areas where we need to re-think our sex-classification systems: sex-marked identity documents such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses and passports; sex-segregated public restrooms; single-sex colleges; and sex-segregated sports. Speaking from his own experience and drawing upon major cases of sex discrimination in the news and in the courts, Davis presents a persuasive case for challenging how individuals are classified according to sex and offers concrete recommendations for alleviating sex identity discrimination and sex-based disadvantage.
For anyone in search of pragmatic ways to make our world more inclusive, Davis’ recommendations provide much-needed practical guidance about how to work through this complex issue. A provocative call to action, Beyond Trans pushes us to think how we can work to make America truly inclusive of all people.
Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Dr. Heath Fogg Davis’ Beyond Trans Does Gender Matter? is one of the most relevant books in modern times and could not have been released at a more crucial moment in American history. From President’s Trump transgender military ban to Caitlyn Jenner’s public transition, trans issues have been a political hot topic for the last few years. One of the most critical elements of his book is his explanation of “sex identity” versus “gender identity.” He uses the term “sex identity” to classify how determinations are made about who does and does not belong in the sex categories of male and female. Sex, like race he relates is considered immutable and often indisputable. One aspect of his book is that sex identity discrimination does not only impact transgender people but it impacts all people that do not fit neatly into sex categories. Overwhelming discrimination is felt by transwomen, especially those of color. Another important point is that the sex identity “police” seem to predominately favor patrolling the “female” body. Davis relates that when he transitioned to male he felt less discrimination when trying to use a bathroom than when he tried to use a female bathroom before transitioning. Sex policing seems to start at birth, with the doctor who examines your genitalia and determines your sex and continues with the bouncer who determines whether you are in the correct bathroom for your gender at the club. Why does gender still matter? Should it? When it is used who benefits from it and who is at the disadvantage? Davis walks us through various problematizing scenarios arguing against the continued use of gender in everyday life. He uses his book to offer sound alternatives to using binary sex classification and offers ways to be more inclusive of people who do not identify as male or female and transgender people.