Transcending Time and Place: Judge A. Wallace Tashima and the Liberation of LGBT Identity
16 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2020
Date Written: 2019
This essay was written for a symposium celebrating the legacy of Judge A. Wallace Tashima, Senior Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. It analyzes Judge Tashima's opinion in Hernandez Montiel v. INS, a twenty-year-old decision holding that "gay men with female sexual identities" constituted a "particular social group" under the asylum statute. The essay considers how the opinion, deemed an important civil rights victory at the time, has aged in light of subsequent legal and social developments. While necessarily a product of its time, the opinion avoids essentializing the petitioner's identity through its context-sensitive, performative understanding of gay and transgender identity.
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