Lecture for IDAHOT
(International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia)
The personal is political (or why family law needs political philosophy): Religion and transphobia in the courtroom
Professor Aleardo Zanghellini
17 May 2017, 5pm in Lg16 at Canterbury Christ Church University
Abstract: In this paper I discuss a recent Family Court decision in which a parent who transitioned to a different gender after separation was denied direct contact with her children. The reason why the Court rejected the trans parent’s application for a contact order was that, had the children maintained contact with her, they would have been rejected by the fundamentalist Orthodox Jewish community within which they and the cisgender parent live. I critique the soundness of the Court’s decision, including on the ground that it has the effect of ratifying religious transphobia, and I argue that neither the law nor the children’s best interest required this outcome. I also argue that political philosophy can help us understand why.
Bio: Aleardo Zanghellini is Professor of Law and Social Theory at the School of Law, University of Reading. His areas of research interest are law, gender & sexuality; legal philosophy; and law & literature. Prof Zanghellini’s work regularly appears in leading international journals. His 2015 book, The Sexual Constitution of Political Authority, is an analysis of the erotic dimensions of state power, arguing that the disavowal of male same-sex desire has been, and partly remains, central to mainstream understandings of political authority.