Can an Ecdysiast Fag speak the voice of transgender? Phoenix (un)rising and the assumptions in Re Kevin revisited

Thomas, Mark (2015) Can an Ecdysiast Fag speak the voice of transgender? Phoenix (un)rising and the assumptions in Re Kevin revisited. In Berents, Helen & Scott, John (Eds.) Crime, Justice And Social Democracy: Proceedings Of The 3rd International Conference, 2015, Crime and Justice Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld.

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Abstract

"Each night the men look so surprised

I change my sex before their eyes

Tell me if you can

What makes a man a man"

  • Charles Aznavour, ‘What makes a man a man (Comme ils disent)’.

In (the few) Western jurisdictions in which marriage remains a forensic artefact constructed on the basis of a man|woman binary, the anatomical and heteronormative assumptions which underlie the construction of marriage remain as artificial constructs which do not map well (if indeed at all) to current social, or even medical, approaches to gender. In Re Kevin (Validity of Marriage of Transsexual) [2001] FamCA 1074, Justice Chisolm sought to recast the forensic ascription of sex against a broader set of criteria, expanding the range of sexually dimorphic anatomy used to determine sex for the purposes of marriage in Australia and incorporating observations of psycho-social gender-differentiation as factors relevant to the ultimate question for the Court — ‘What makes a man a man?’

Yet neither expansion is unproblematic. This article explores this fundamental forensic question against the background of Aznavour’s ‘Comme ils dissent’, in which the persona of un(e) stripteaseuse travesti struggles to answer precisely the same question. It concludes that Re Kevin might offer no more sophisticated an analysis of the lived reality of trans than Aznavour’s ecdysiast fag — not trans, but un travesti:

"I shop and cook and sew a bit

Though mum does too, I must admit

I do it better."

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ID Code: 94077
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: theorising sexuality and gender, Re Kevin, transgender and the law
ISBN: 9780987467867
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Author
Deposited On: 23 Mar 2016 00:43
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2016 23:22

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