The best place on the planet to be trans? Transgender equality and legal consciousness in Scotland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores the intersections of law, identity and discrimination. The author draws from a larger, four-year empirical project—documenting trans narratives of equality in Scotland, Canada and the United States. The focus of this contribution is those responses from participants in the first of these jurisdictions. Through the lens of legal consciousness, and using a “femiqueer” perspective, the author considers the ways in which trans people in Scotland talk about their everyday experiences of discrimination. The chapter presents original findings that increase our understanding of the lives of trans people in that part of the United Kingdom and contributes to socio-legal theoretical literature by suggesting a new strand of “legal consciousness”. It adds to our knowledge of how trans people themselves see the role and relevance of law in their lives: by examining both practical and conceptual understandings and experiences of equality; by contributing to the legal consciousness literature in introducing the new concept of “optimistic legal realism”; and by analysing recent shifts in discourse on equality and trans rights in Scotland. The chapter also highlights how people negotiate being “inside” and “outside” the trans and cisgender communities around them. In light of the particular attention currently being given in the UK to whether gender identity and expression should be regulated, and the policing of gendered spaces, this chapter argues that we must pay attention to trans people’s narratives; their intersectional experiences of equality and life generally in Scotland—and elsewhere—require nuanced and sensitive consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Queer Outside in Law
Subtitle of host publicationRecognising LGBTIQ People in the United Kingdom
EditorsSenthorun Raj, Peter Dunne
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages46
ISBN (Electronic)9783030488307
ISBN (Print)9783030488291
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

Publication series

NamePalgrave Socio-Legal Studies


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