Sex and (Sexed by) the State

Women's Rights Law Reporter Vol. 25, p. 217, Fall 2004

2 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2011 Last revised: 28 Dec 2011

Taylor Flynn

Western New England University School of Law

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

This Article discusses how the law not only tries to discipline the body into traditional sex roles, but it also has the power to declare you to be a particular legal sex, even over your objection. The majority of jurisdictions follow the orthodoxy of sex as "genitalia-at-birth." Under this view, a male to female transgender woman (who, for example, has undergone surgery and is anatomically indistinguishable from someone born with female genitalia) is deemed in the majority of states to be legally male. In a handful of more progressive states, the law looks predominantly -- although unfortunately, not exclusively -- at an individual's gender identity to determine legal sex. As a result of these differing legal approaches, a person can be legally male in one state and female in another. Thus, the law (at least cross-jurisdictionally) acknowledges the fluidity of sex, yet it makes central life decisions tum on what sex you are.

Keywords: sex roles, transgender

Suggested Citation

Flynn, Taylor, Sex and (Sexed by) the State (2004). Women's Rights Law Reporter Vol. 25, p. 217, Fall 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1971841

Taylor Flynn (Contact Author)

Western New England University School of Law ( email )

1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
United States

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