http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2012.722305">
 

Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Humanities and Creative Writing

Title

Legitimating transphobia: The legal disavowal of transgender rights in prison

Language

English

Abstract

Transgender persons are strangers to the law; or put more accurately, the legal imagination is so deeply entrenched in normative gender binarism as to effectively render transsexuals a 'freakish' anomaly to law. This essay attempts to offer a reflection on transgenderism, law and sexual crime from a human rights and criminal law perspective. It focuses on one of the most violent types of institution in society - the prison - and asks: what are the legal imagination and practice surrounding transgender prisoners as they are linked to social and cultural transphobia? What 'human' rights can be practiced for a dehumanized class? It first surveys the legal predicament of transgender prisoners in the US prison system in relation to Eighth Amendment rights provided by the US Constitution. The US situation has seen cases that have importantly shed light on other jurisdictions when engaging with the combined questions of prisoners' rights and transgender rights together. The analysis is then taken to the context of Hong Kong prisons in a modest application. In contrast to some other Asian contexts (such as Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia), critical cultural studies of transgenderism are non-existent in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, human rights studies of the same have only emerged through the work of legal scholar Robyn Emerton. It is hoped that a rights-based approach will emerge in Hong Kong for the protection of transgender inmates from sexual violence in local correctional facilities. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

Eighth Amendment rights, Hong Kong, prison, Prisons Ordinance (Hong Kong), sexual crime, transgender

Publication Date

2013

Source Publication Title

Cultural Studies

Volume

27

Issue

1

Start Page

136

End Page

159

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

ISSN (print)

09502386

ISSN (electronic)

14664348

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