Patricia J. Williams, James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University, published these words twenty-five years ago in her renowned essay on slavery, race, gender, and rights called "On Being the Object of Property":
There are moments in my life when I feel as though a part of me is missing. There are days when I feel so invisible that I can't remember what day of the week it is, when I feel so manipulated that I can't remember my own name, when I feel so lost and angry that I can't speak a civil word to the people who love me best. Those are the times when I catch sight of my reflection in stores windows and am surprised to see a whole person looking back.
In a symposium last week at Columbia Law School that celebrated her continued work in law, critical race theory, and intersectional feminism, she recalled the climate in which she wrote this reflection on the dispossession of black people in general and black women in particular.
Last week, Argentina gave citizens the freedom to change their legal and physical gender without having to undergo medical, psychiatric, or judicial procedures. Along with eliminating patronizing barriers to swapping an "M" for an "F" on a driver's license, the law gives Argentinians a freedom you won't find anywhere else: gender self-determination.
Will trans inclusion in the Miss Universe pageant really hurdle us into a world where all gender identities are welcome? The way this battle is being fought and won reinforces the power of "gender gatekeepers," the government and medical officials who determine whether our gender identities are legally recognized.
Last June, NPR reported that the "end of gender" was near, citing everything from gender-neutral prom courts to clothing ads to suggest that perhaps people aren't so hung up on the male/female gender binary anymore. But despite the growing trend of gender neutrality, the response to disappearing gender constructs in politics and in popular culture isn't always positive.
In what I'll call the executive summary of the Supreme Court's decision to throw out the class action lawsuit alleging sex-based discrimination against the female employees of Wal-Mart, Justice Scalia writes that the plaintiffs must show evidence that the company operates under "a general policy of discrimination," and that the Court does not see this evidence. Well, how smart of sexism that it doesn't operate that way. Today, I'll take a look at the majority and dissenting opinions in this case.
Switzerland has been inciting all sorts of ire and indignation these last few months with their xenophobic c ban on minarets. This Sunday, they're likely going to cross a few more potential allies with their referendum on whether animals should be granted legal representation in the courts.