This article will look at how trans scholarship and activism have taken up disciplinary critiques of gender, often influenced by Butler, and suggest that further development of critical trans perspectives focused on sites of regularization is needed, for which Butler's work on governmentality can be useful. To start, it describes some of the key concepts from Butler's work that have been taken up in trans politics and briefly reviews the distinctions Foucault offers between sovereignty, discipline and biopolitics. The article then examines some of the ways that trans politics has critiqued disciplinary norms, looking at resistance to the medicalization of trans identity and the response to anti-trans feminism. Next, it looks at areas where the operation of racialized-gendered normalization at the population level is being examined and might be further troubled by trans scholars and activists. Here the article looks at critiques of identity surveillance practices that use gender as a category of identity verification and critiques of certain trans law reform projects. Using Butler's work, the article raises questions about the role of law reform in resistance to various sites of gender regularization and suggests areas of further inquiry that might be taken up by scholars and activists engaging a critical trans politics rooted in a skepticism about law reform projects.
Laws as Tactics, 21 Colum. J. Gender & L. 40