Deleuze and Transfeminism
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- Deleuze and the Schizoanalysis of Feminism, 2019, pp. 127 - 140
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In a variety of otherwise disparate social and cultural contexts, the figure of the transitioning body has been taken up not simply as the moniker for groups with specific political demands, but as a "fuzzy" sign invested with broad collective hopes for world historical transformations around the categories of sex and gender. As an umbrella term, transgender has been used to group people together "across fine gradations of trans experience and identity;' in ways that "build the experienced reality of a shared community, with overlapping and intersectional social needs and political goals" (Williams 2014: 234). In stressing departure rather than arrival, Julian Carter evokes a notion of transition which is non-teleological, in which "transition" instead is understood as one of the ways in which people "move across socially defined boundaries away from an unchosen gender category" (Carter 2014: 235). Noting the "popular cultural preoccupation" with the terminology of "trans;' Pearce et al. follow Nael Bhanji in exploring the valences that "transition" has acquired: transgression, transmutation, transmorgification, and so on (see Bhanji 2012; Pearce et al. 2018: 2). Just as the diasporic subject became, within certain Anglo-American fields of scholarly inquiry, a widely legible metonym for wider phenomena of cultural, economic, and political globalization (see Cho 2007), so too have trans rights become metonymic for tectonic shifts in the role of both the State and more diffuse social institutions (such as media industries) in recognizing and regulating gender-based social identities.1 To see transgender celebrity Laverne Cox on the cover of Cosmopolitan in South Africa (February, 2018) is to be reassured that gatekeepers of gender norms are themselves transitioning from one worldview to another-from binary to multiplicity, identity to fluidity, conformity to self-expression, and so on. The metonymic signs of trans acceptance seem to arrive from a utopian near-future, one that is slowly trickling its way into a present restless for change.
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