Not a Lust Story: Judicial Imaginaries of Sexual Citizenship

Posted: 7 Aug 2009

Date Written: August 4, 2009


This paper seeks to examine the explanations offered within the judicial imaginary to account for the desires of improper sexual subjects. I will consider primarily Canadian caselaw to investigate how the judicial imaginary makes sense of contested sexual practices by resorting to three interlocking sites of belonging and exclusion: gender, nation and humanness. I start by considering the gender imperatives perpetuated by the judicial analysis of contested sexual practices. I next consider how the Canadian courts circumscribe and limit the adjudicating national community, homogenizing Canadian sexual identity, and otherizing or marginalizing those whose sexuality does not fit within these discursive borders. Finally, I consider how these gender and national identity imperatives buttress judicially-articulated human imperatives, expunging practitioners of non-normative sexual behaviour from the category of human altogether. Ultimately, I argue that these judicial imperatives perpetuate the harm of what has been called sexual chauvinism, discriminating, devaluing and dehumanizing individuals based on their sexual practices, usually grounded upon stereotypes.

Keywords: sexual chauvanism, gender regulation, nationalism, humanness, belonging, judicial discourses

Suggested Citation

Khan, Ummni, Not a Lust Story: Judicial Imaginaries of Sexual Citizenship (August 4, 2009). Available at SSRN:

Ummni Khan (Contact Author)

Carleton University ( email )

1125 colonel By Drive
Ontario K1S 5B6

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