Talia Bettcher (California State University, Los Angeles, Philosophy) just uploaded a paper on Academia.edu:
Feminist Perspectives on Trans Issues
First published Sat Sep 26, 2009; substantive revision Wed Jan 8, 2014
The relationship between feminism and transgender theory and politics is surprisingly fraught. The goal in this entry is to outline some of the key philosophical issues at the intersections, and this can be accomplished only by attending to the history of feminist and trans politics as it has unfolded in the U.S. “Transgender” as a politics and “trans studies” as a twin of “queer studies” (Stryker 2004) emerged in the early 1990s and this emergence is intertwined with feminist as well as queer theory and politics.(These terms will be explained below.) Consequently, this entry will follow a roughly chronological order.One major set of philosophical themes concerns competing conceptions of the self and its relation to the sexed body and to gender. (Biological sex is often distinguished from gender, taken as the cultural roles assigned on the basis of sex). Is the self prior to the institution of gender identity? Is sex the “hardware” on which the program of gender is run, or is sex itself thoroughly cultural? If the self is irrevocably immersed in cultural gender, how is resistance to gender oppression possible at all? Moreover,how should answers to these questions inform feminist politics and theory? How should they inform trans politics and theory?A related set of themes concerns the political and philosophical difficulties in formulating a theory of gender oppression and strategies for resistance when multiple modalities of oppression are recognized: If trans people are oppressed as trans people and women are oppressed as women, then it would seem we need an account of at least two different modalities of gender oppression. Do these two different modalitieslead to politics that are inevitably at odds with each other? And if so how could we then accommodate individuals who are oppressed as woman and as trans people?How is coalition among non trans feminists and trans activists possible? Where arethe grounds of commonality? Where are the tensions?