Free

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

SW1.18

First Floor, Somerset House East Wing

King's College London, Strand Campus

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

View Map

Event description

Description


What if state law no longer sexed us? The implications of reforming legal gender status.

A RoundTable Discussion, forming part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. #ESRC Festival.

Today the question of gender, its future and the role of law is a lively, sometimes fierce topic of public debate. As governments consider how to make transitioning between male and female easier - and whether to legally recognise other gender identities - this round-table event asks: should people in Britain continue to have a formal legal gender based on their registered sex at birth? What would it mean to no longer have a legal gender? And what might the social implications of such a change be? This roundtable draws on new ESRC funded research from the Future of Legal Gender project. #FutureGender.

Further details:

About the RoundTable

Currently, in Britain people have a legal gender which is recorded at birth. Changing from female to male -or vice versa- involves a legal procedure regulated by the Gender Recognition Act 2004. In 2018, government consultations on reforming this procedure led to widespread and intense debate.

Discussions about how to formally transition; the genders one can transition to; what the age threshold for such a decision should be; and the number of times transitioning can happen spark a more fundamental question - do people even need to have a legal sex/gender?

This question is particularly topical, as British law is increasingly becoming more gender neutral. The areas where an individual’s legal sex/gender makes a substantial and explicit difference to their treatment in law are rapidly diminishing. The growing number of people who either want to transition, or who identify as neither male nor female also makes the question of legal gender and its future particularly important.

There is a further vital reason for exploring this issue. If state law registers people’s sex at birth, and then creates a procedure for changing it, does this legitimate a cultural system which depicts gender differences as natural and important? Feminists and others have long argued for the importance of liberating people from their gender, particularly when it acts to subordinate and constrain the way they live, act and appear.

In this lively round-table discussion, the panel will explore the challenging and controversial issues raised by the proposal to deregulate sex/ gender. They will critically address the consequences of abolishing legal gender on same-sex provision, anti-discrimination law, equality agendas and wider public attitudes. At the heart of the discussion lies the question: what should the future of gender be? Legal reform provides a lens that focuses attention on this essential question.

About the Festival of Social Science

The Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation. It runs from 2-9 November 2019. The ESRC Festival of Social Science has helped researchers to engage with new audiences from teenagers to pensioners, including individuals representing businesses, charities and policymakers. This year’s ESRC Festival of Social Science has over 470 events being held across the UK. Events cover a wide range of topics - artificial intelligence, mental health, sexuality, parenting, weather, gender, ageing, love, death, economics and education, to name but a few. The Festival of Social Science celebrates some of the country’s leading social science research, giving an exciting opportunity to showcase the valuable work of the UK’s social scientists and demonstrate how their work has an impact on all our lives. For more information about the Festival, visit their webpage at https://esrc.ukri.org/public-engagement/festival-of-social-science/

To find out more about the Future of Legal Gender project and the research team, visit us at Future of Legal Gender and follow us on Twitter: @FutureGender.

The event will be followed by refreshments.

Share with friends

Date and Time

Location

SW1.18

First Floor, Somerset House East Wing

King's College London, Strand Campus

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved