In February 2018, I was invited to deliver a guest lecture at the University of Warwick as part of the “Hidden Histories” series.
In the last year there has been an enormous upsurge in media commentary that expresses concern about the role of trans people in public life. Gendered changing rooms, non-binary people, trans children and notions of self-definition have all come under intense scrutiny.
In the talk, I explored the background to the recent wave of media coverage. I argued that the transgender moral panic has been shaped by deep-seated cultural anxieties around sex and gender, taking in trans-exclusionary radical feminism, homophobic discourse, scientific racism, Brexit, and proposed changes to gender recognition laws.
Recommended further reading
Meg-John Barker (2017)
2017 Review: The Transgender Moral Panic
Combahee River Collective (1977)
The Combahee River Collective Statement
Emi Koyama (2001)
The Transfeminist Manifesto
C. Riley Snorton (2017)
Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity
Christan Williams and Gillian Frank (2016)
The Politics of Transphobia: Bathroom Bills and the Dialectic of Oppression
I made two minor errors in unprepared asides during the talk, which I correct here for the sake of transparency.
- Lily Madigan was elected to the position of Women’s Office in her constitutency Labour party at the age of 19, not 17.
- David Davis was a co-founder of Radio Warwick (RaW), not David Davies.