Converging Feminist and Queer Legal Theories: Family Feuds and Family Ties
22 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2011 Last revised: 20 Jan 2013
Date Written: December 1, 2010
The notion that queer theory and feminism are inevitably in tension with one another has been well developed both by queer and feminist theorists. Queer theorists have critiqued feminist theories for being anti-sex, overly moralistic, essentialist, and statist. Feminist theorists have rejected queer theory as being uncritically pro-sex and dangerously protective of the private sphere. Unfortunately these reductionist accounts of what constitutes a plethora of diverse, eclectic and overlapping theoretical approaches to issues of sex, gender, and sexuality, often fail to account for the circumstances where these methodological approaches converge on legal projects aimed at advancing the complex justice interests of women and sexual minorities. A recent decision from the Ontario Court of Justice addressing a three-parent family law dispute involving gay and lesbian litigants demonstrates why recognition of the convergences between feminist and queer legal theories can advance both queer and feminist justice projects. The objective of this article is to demonstrate, through different and converging interpretations of this case that draw on some of the theoretical insights offered in a new anthology called Feminist and Queer Legal Theory, one rather straight-forward claim. The claim advanced here is that activists, advocates, litigants and judges are all well served by approaching complex legal problems involving sex, sexuality and gender with as many “methods” for pursuing and achieving justice as possible.
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