Articles

Evangelicals, Feminists, and the 'Unlikely' Discursive Alliance at the Heart of British Transphobia

Author
  • Rebecca Jane Morgan (University of Nottingham)

Abstract

This article reconsiders the popular conception that anti-trans feminists in the United Kingdom are acting as 'useful idiots' for the Christian Right (most visibly conservative evangelicals) in their campaign to reverse the trend towards public acceptance of trans people. It argues that the discursive similarities between the writings of these two factions can be traced back to a genuine set of shared beliefs, most of all the belief that the body and mind are best treated as a single contiguous entity, and that body/mind dualism is undesirable as a matter of principle. In demonstrating this point, the article re-examines some of the founding documents of anti-trans feminism and anti-trans evangelicalism, including Janice Raymond's The Transsexual Empire (1979) and Oliver O'Donovan's Transsexualism and Christian Marriage (1982), exploring in particular the role that opposition to 'Gnosticism', a dualistic set of Christian mysticisms, played in shaping how these authors conceptualised trans identity. Drawing on evidence submitted by anti-trans feminists and conservative evangelicals to two recent UK Government consultations, it then delineates how this long-standing rhetorical overlap manifested to tangibly contribute to the stalling of key trans rights objectives in the UK.

Keywords: Transgender, Transphobia, Feminism, Christianity, Dualism, Evangelicalism, Gnosticism, Theology

How to Cite:

Morgan, R. J., (2023) “Evangelicals, Feminists, and the 'Unlikely' Discursive Alliance at the Heart of British Transphobia”, DiGeSt - Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies 10(2), 48-64. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/digest.85310

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Published on
11 Dec 2023
Peer Reviewed