Guide Framing Excessive Violence: Discourse and Dynamics

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The death of transgender woman Tyra Hunter in forms a particularly disturbing case study since it involves the transphobia of emergency services and medical professionals.

Hunter was hit by a car in Washington D. A series of derogatory remarks and a delay in treatment both at the scene and in hospital ultimately resulted in her death. When Hunter was recognised as a binary female, her body warranted saving but when she was revealed as transgender her body was allowed to die ibid, pp. The gendercide of Hunter was not planned but the medical neglect because of her gender which resulted in her death, was gendercide nonetheless. The pathologization of transgender men and women, who choose to seek or undergo sex reassignment surgery, can also be categorised as gendercide.

To be sure, those seeking sex reassignment surgery deserve the proper medical and psychological support but for professionals to discourage or prevent sex reassignment surgery constitutes the denial of the right to bodily autonomy and the expression of embodied gender identity Heyes, , p. Furthermore, for feminist theorists, such as Shelia Jefferies , to oppose male to female sex reassignment surgery, arguing it represents a form of patriarchy which appropriates the female body, completely contradicts the concepts at the root of feminism and feminist theory Butler, As Gloria Steinman , p.

I believe that transgender people, including those who have not transitioned, are living out real, authentic lives. Those lives should be celebrated, not questioned. Their health care decisions should be theirs and theirs alone to make.

The targeting of gender queer and transgender groups is not a new or modern issue; it is something that has occurred historically in indigenous communities whose gender expressions did not fit European norms Miranda, , p. Native American communities have historically adopted diverse and fluid interpretations of gender and sexuality.

Two Spirited Native Americans were believed to possess both male and female spirits; they had a respected and pivotal role within indigenous communities as intermediaries who guided the dead to the afterlife Lang, , p. For instance, Spanish soldiers commonly fed the Two Spirited to their dogs and the clergy in Spanish missions often separated Two Spirited groups from their communities, forcing them to adopt European masculine or feminine heteronormative social functions ibid, p.

Association with the Two Spirited was also punishable by death; as follows, what made the indigenous gendercide of the Two Spirited even more devastating, was the fact that it conditioned communities to turn on the Two Spirited and commit gendercide themselves Lang, , p. Ultimately, this culminated in a spiritual and social crisis; with nobody to carry out death rituals, many indigenous communities sought spiritual refuge in Catholicism and social refuge in the ideology of their European colonisers Miranda, , p.

The Spanish thereby used European Christian discourses of the male female binary to attribute deviance to the status of two spirited Native Americans. In this way, the gendercide of transgender and gender queer groups in the Americas can be viewed as part of the structure of colonial dominance used to assert white European racial and ethnic superiority. For instance, the racial or ethnic other is cast as the violent and less accepting other, and thereby more likely to commit gendercide against gender non-binary groups ibid.

This constructs a complex paradigm, whereby the racial other is endowed with the greater potential to commit a hate crime; this is then used as a means of legitimising racial violence against the out of group other. Specific examples of this can be viewed in the moral panic in Berlin when Muslim migrants were accused of violence at a drag festival ibid, , pp.

By using gendercide to focus on the violence targeting transgender groups, it has been highlighted that non- binary gender groups have been omitted from the academic and policy considerations of violence. Until theories such as gendercide can be applied with a fully intersectional feminist lens, which incorporates a wider range of gender identities, the complexity of violence cannot be fully theorised or conceptualised Heyes, , pp.


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Using the theory of gendercide and applying it to the targeting of transgender and gender queer groups has enabled the link to gender specific violence and racial dominance rooted in European colonial ideology to be made Miranda, , p. It has also been illustrated that transgender identities are not a modern phenomenon; arguably it is transphobic violence emergent from colonial structures which is the more modern construction.

In sum, femicide is a crucially important feminist theory to highlight violence against women and acts as a useful starting point to reveal how masculine dominance asserts itself within power structures Corradi et al, , pp. Stefanie Rixecker cited in Jones, , p. There is the assumption that highlighting the different aspects of genocide waters it down and removes the serious aspects of the act itself. I do not think this is true at all.

If anything highlighting the contributing factors is essential if humankind wishes to pre-empt such atrocities. The more we understand of the different labelling of hate — and perpetuating violence based upon these labels — the better off we will be in ensuring future genocides do not take place.

I would have thought that this was the ultimate goal and the ultimate policy outcome. In this way, a broad application of the theory of gendercide can give rise to a more holistic conceptualisation of how gender specific hate and violence is constructed. If gender specific violence is to be fully theorised or have any meaningful policy application to ensure the most vulnerable are protected, stagnant gender based models must be modified to include situational analysis and the application of feminist theories such as gendercide to the targeting of transgender and gender queer groups Dolan, , p.

Arguably, the absence of gender diversity in policy and feminist theories of violence reflects a new form of gender blindness. Violent hegemonic masculinity embedded in patriarchal power structures harms women and girls, men and boys, as well as transgender and gender queer groups. Until feminist theories such as gendercide become more inclusive of transgender and gender queer identities, feminist theory on violence will remain reductionist and incomplete. Butler, J Carpenter, C. In Jones ed. Gendercide and Genocide. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

Cockburn, C. Hyndman eds. Sites of Violence: Gender and Conflict Zones. Los Angeles: University of California Press, pp. Conway, M. A Feminist Foreign Policy. Corradi, C. Theories of femicide and their significance for social research. Current Sociology, 64 7 , pp. Dolan, C. Letting go of the gender binary: Charting new pathways for humanitarian interventions on gender-based violence.

International Review of the Red Cross, 96 , pp. Ferrales, G. Foucault, M. London: Palgrave. The femicide machine Semiotext e intervention series; Los Angeles: Semiotext e. Grech, V. Gendercide and Femineglect. Early Human Development, 91 12 , pp. Heyes, C. Aizura eds. Hudson, V. Cumberland Law Review, 41 , pp. Jeffreys, S. Transgender Activism. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 1 , pp.

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Jones, A. Gender and ethnic conflict in ex-Yugoslavia. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 17 1 pp. Gendercide and genocide. Journal of Genocide Research 2 2 , pp. Jones ed. Straight as a rule: Heteronormativity, gendercide, and the noncombatant male. Men and Masculinities, 8 4 , pp. Lang, S. Native American men-women, lesbians, two-spirits: Contemporary and historical perspectives.

Journal of Lesbian Studies, 20 , pp. Miranda, D. Extermination of the Joyas: Gendercide in Spanish California. Ortega, D. From Inclusion to Radical Attention to Exclusion. Affilia, 28 1 , pp.


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