Transgender Freedom and the Law: A Liberal-Poststructural Discussion on McNally

Jack Thompson, Victoria Brooks

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    In R v McNally, gender deception is found capable of leading to the vitiation of consent to sexual intercourse and, in so doing, places restriction on the freedom of transgendered individuals in favour of cisgendered freedom. This paper seeks to challenge the standing of this decision by adopting a combined methodological approach between Deleuzian post-structuralism and Gewirthian legal idealism. In so doing, we attempt to show that the combination offers a novel and productive approach to contentious decisions, such as that in McNally. Our approach brings together post-structuralist corporeality which conceives of the body as material and productive, and Gewirth’s ‘agent’ to conceptualise the legal body as an entity which can, and should, shape judicial reasoning. It does this by employing the criterion of categorically necessary freedom on institutionalised practical reasoning. These ‘bodies of agents’ can be conceived as the underpinning and justificatory basis for the authority of the law subject to the morally rational Principle of Generic Consistency. This egalitarian condition precedent requires individualisation and the ability to accept self-differentiation in order to return to a status, which can be validly described as “law”. Ultimately, we argue that this theoretical combination responds to a call to problematise the connection made between gender discourse and judicial reasoning, whilst offering the opportunity to further our conceptions of law and broaden the theoretical armoury with which to challenge judicial reasoning in McNally. That is, a ‘good faith’ attempt to further and guarantee transgender freedoms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventCritical Legal Conference: Power, Capital, Chaos - University of Sussex, Brighton
    Duration: 20 Sept 2014 → …


    ConferenceCritical Legal Conference
    Period20/09/14 → …


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