Monro, Surya (2005) Fragmented genders: Theoretical explorations and practical implications. In: British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2005, 21st - 23rd March 2005, York, UK. (Unpublished)
Abstract

What happens to gender theory when we consider gender categories to be more diverse than simply 'female' and 'male'? In what ways
are the sexual orientation categories that we take for granted destabilized by sex and gender fluidity? What does the fragmentation of
discrete sexual and gender identities imply for policy making and activism?
This paper aims to develop gender theory regarding transgender and to apply trans/gender theory to two specific areas: social policy and
activism. It begins by briefly reviewing and critiquing existing theoretical approaches in relation to trans, including feminist and
poststructuralist accounts, before exploring and evaluating three strands of trans/gender theory: [i] The broadening of male/female
categorization; [ii] Degendering; [iii] Gender pluralism. The paper then discusses these theoretical approaches with regards to the related
areas of social policy and activism. There is a tendency for gender diversity to be marginalized by both policy makers and activists, and
the inclusion of gender diversity and fluidity may destabilize the categorization systems on which policy makers and activists rely. The
three theoretical approaches described earlier are relevant to these processes in different, sometimes conflicting ways. Overall, the
inclusion of gender diversity provokes calls for the development of more finely grained approaches to praxis and policy making, whilst
important questions concerning fragmentation, alliances, and the tension between universalist and particularist approaches, remain. The
paper is based on empirical findings from four research projects.

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