This three-year project on the Future of Legal Gender is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). It runs from May 2018 until April 2021.
The aim of the project is to critically explore the question of legal gender (a term we use for the different ways in which law explicitly treats people as having a gender or sex that is stable, unitary, binary and carried with them). What would be the social, cultural and political implications if the ways state law recognised people’s sex/ gender radically changed? What concerns and challenges does this proposal invoke? The project will draw on experiences in other countries, the legal approach taken towards other social characteristics, such as religion, ethnicity and sexuality, and the views of activists, policy-makers, NGOs, lawyers and the wider public.
Aims of the Project
- To critically explore different ways of reforming legal gender status, focusing on England and Wales, while drawing on experiences in other countries, the different legal approaches taken towards other social characteristics, such as religion, disability, ethnicity and sexuality, and the views of activists, policy-makers, NGOs, lawyers and the wider public.
- To contribute to ongoing policy and political discussions relating to current legal reform proposals, while taking a longer-term approach.
- To understand different people’s hopes and worries in relation to both the current legal framework and different approaches to legal reform.
- To contribute to broader discussions about the changing character of gender and the contribution law can make to how it is changing.
Adopting an intersectional approach, the project will address the implications of different reform proposals for single-sex/gender activities, services and spaces, the wider equality agenda and other fields of statutory law. The project will also explore what legal gender status means to people and whether it matters in their everyday lives.