Sex and (Sexed by) the State

Taylor Flynn

Western New England University School of Law


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

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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 2

Keywords: sex roles, transgender

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Date posted: December 14, 2011 ; Last revised: December 28, 2011

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

Contact Information

Taylor Flynn (Contact Author)
Western New England University School of Law ( email )
1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
United States

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