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Reserving the Right to be Complex: Gender Variance and Trans Identities in the Greek Legal Order

Kasapidou, Roussa (2020) Reserving the Right to be Complex: Gender Variance and Trans Identities in the Greek Legal Order. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Within the Greek legal order, gender identity recognition and the legal implications of trans identities have, in recent times, increasingly become the subjects of legislation and legal analysis. Nonetheless, in this newly emerging debate, contextspecificity and historicity are often side-stepped. In this vein, the present thesis asks: How did issues of gender variance emerge in the national legal order during the previous century and how were they discussed and regulated before the existence of LGBTI+ rights? Starting from the premise that the legal management of gender identity adheres to different large-scale political projects on a macro level while, on a ground level, it is materialised through bureaucratic informality and individual survival strategies, the thesis proceeds to explore the following queries: To which processes and projects does recent trans-related legislation relate and how can it be comprehended within them? How does such legislation translate into legal reality as a lived experience in Greece and how can it be appraised on a symbolic and material level? With these questions in mind, the thesis analyses texts that were compiled through archival research to create a genealogy of the legal management of gender identity during the previous century. It unearths categorical conflations, interpretative workings and other dominant epistemic gestures that created a chaotic nexus within the supposedly self-evident process of registering and categorising legible citizens. Multiple contemporary legal sources and a set of semi-structured interviews are then used to appraise the main pieces of legislation relating to gender identity issues at state and ground level. Exploring the way in which trans rights can be understood in a national context of traditional ethno-sexual values, the thesis makes an argument for complex in concreto readings of such legislation that go beyond its mere understanding as a linear and universal narrative of progress or assimilation.

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