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SUFRN: Transgender challenges: Identity, equality and community, Prof Sharo...

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Cathedral Wing, room CW408

199 Cathedral St

Glasgow

G4 0QU

United Kingdom

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Transgender challenges: identity, equality and community

In this paper I will present some findings from a project exploring trans people’s life experiences, and particularly their experiences of equality, across three jurisdictions: Scotland, Canada and the US. Trans people have struggled to gain legal rights and protections in each of these jurisdictions, notwithstanding long histories of civil rights and human rights. Equality has long been the focus of government and academic attention in each of these countries, but trans people themselves are rarely asked to reflect upon their everyday experiences of law, equality and discrimination. Differences between Canadian, US and Scottish interpretations and applications of human rights are well documented, and while all three have laws and policies that address equality, they each have very different legal cultures, histories and socio-political contexts. The project compares how trans* people's experiences of equality vary and/or resonate across different social, political and legal cultures. In this paper I will explore how trans* people’s lived experiences of gender identity and expression are intimately connected with other aspects of their daily lived experiences and identities, including incarceration, poverty, race, cultural background, physical ability, kinship, nationality, geographical location, and immigration status. I will also examine questions of ethical representation in feminist research.


Professor Sharon Cowan is Professor of Feminist and Queer Legal Studies (University of Edinburgh) and completed an LLB (Hons) from Strathclyde University, and an MPhil in Criminology from the University of Cambridge. She undertook two years as a researcher at the London School of Economics before going on to complete a PhD at Brunel University, London. Sharon was a lecturer at the University of Warwick for three years prior to her arrival at Edinburgh. She joined the University of Edinburgh in 2004.

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Cathedral Wing, room CW408

199 Cathedral St

Glasgow

G4 0QU

United Kingdom

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