Abolishing gender registration: A feminist defence


  • Lila Braunschweig




This article argues in favour of the abolition of gender markers on identity documents. Its main goal is to assess the emancipatory dimension of such a proposition not only for gender minorities but also for individuals who recognise themselves within traditional gender identities. I first discuss the discriminations resulting from the practices of binary gender registration for intersex children, trans persons, and non-conforming individuals. Then, I look at the different deadlocks ensuing from the most popular remedy to those discriminations that loosen gender binary by adding one or more registration options. I go on to argue that those should lead us to advocate for the abolition of gender registration as a “transformative remedy” (Fraser, 1995) for the harmful consequences of normative gender regulations and as a way to integrate the queer conception of identity within a debate about institutional change and public policy. Such a proposition however raises question for feminist politics, since identity categories are also tools to achieve rights, equality and reparation on the basis of group oppression and specific shared situations. Yet, degendering civil registration could be part of a broader claim to a renewed conception of neutrality, not the liberal gender blindness, famously criticised by feminists but a neutrality critically reconstructed as non-assignation. This alternative neutrality would ask the collective not to assign its members to predetermined identities, to try and suspend the will to institutionally identify individuals according to collective categories and to construct distinctive groups.


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