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Who Do You Think You are? When Should the Law Let You Be Who You Want to Be?

"YOU'VE CHANGED" SEX REASSIGNMENT AND PERSONAL IDENTITY, pp. 194-216, Laurie J. Shrage, ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009

23 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2010  

Graham Mayeda

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: April 7, 2009

Abstract

This chapter considers whether the state should permit individuals to self-identify when it comes to disclosing their gender or sex. Both private and public institutions often need to have information about an individual's sex or gender in order to provide services, such as the use of a bathroom or locker room, admission to a prison or counseling facility, access to medical and employment benefits, and material redress for illicit sex-based discrimination. The author questions whether the provision of such services would be disrupted if individuals were allowed to control their official sex and gender status and also whether self-identification would undermine the promotion of women's equality. The author distinguishes between the moral obligations individuals have in recognizing each others' identities and the obligations of the state in protecting the rights of different groups. The author concludes that, in order to balance the rights of different groups, the state state should recognize an individual's self-chosen identity in some instances but not in others.

Keywords: transgender identity, sex, gender, queer studies

Suggested Citation

Mayeda, Graham, Who Do You Think You are? When Should the Law Let You Be Who You Want to Be? (April 7, 2009). "YOU'VE CHANGED" SEX REASSIGNMENT AND PERSONAL IDENTITY, pp. 194-216, Laurie J. Shrage, ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1714656

Graham Mayeda (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada
613-562-5800 (2915) (Phone)

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