Articles

'I'm Real, Not You': Roles and Discourses of Trans Exclusionary Women's and Feminist Movements in Anti-gender and Right-wing Populist Politics

Author
  • Claire C. A. House

Abstract

This article offers a comparative inquiry concerning the rise in visibility, relevance, and power of trans exclusionary women’s and feminist movements in Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) between 2015 and 2022.  It focuses on two case studies concerning trans rights: the successful campaign for Bill C-16 in Canada, and failed reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in the UK. In both cases, key streams within trans exclusionary women’s and feminist movements increasingly engage in collaborative action with right-wing populist-centered anti-gender coalitions, which include right-wing religious, conservative, and right-wing extremist actors, from approximately 2016. It argues that a key role of women’s and feminist actors in these coalitions is to help legitimize, amplify, and give meaning to anti-gender and right-wing populist appeals and, therein, the politics of exclusion they promote. This occurs in part, it is argued, through symbolic appeals concerning authenticity and the non-materiality of trans lives; the promotion of narratives concerning conflicts in rights; and the provision of strong imagery, narrative, and emotional appeals concerning threat. These broad developments have had various important effects. In the UK, the combination of so-called ‘radical’ as well as ‘traditional’ actors within anti-gender coalitions, has been critical in challenging progress towards trans and broader (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex, and Queer) LGBTIQ+ rights. In Canada, although anti-gender movements have enjoyed less policy success during this period, women’s and feminist actors have helped popularize and provide legitimacy to wider coalitions.

Keywords: Anti-gender politics, Right-wing populism, Trans rights, Feminism, Social movements, United Kingdom, Canada

How to Cite:

House, C. C., (2023) “'I'm Real, Not You': Roles and Discourses of Trans Exclusionary Women's and Feminist Movements in Anti-gender and Right-wing Populist Politics”, DiGeSt - Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies 10(2), 14-32. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/digest.85755

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Published on
11 Dec 2023
Peer Reviewed