The article seeks to address the way in which the term’trans’ has now been affiliated with different concepts to give differentmeanings, which have an implicit effect on society thus raising politicalawareness.
Due to this, the way in which one can identify themselves hasevolved in relation to society progressing. Brubaker aims to indicate and assess the issues surrounding identitywith regard to individuals sex and race. The research problem addressed iswhether transracial and transgender can be treated as one entity.
Brubaker embarks on the meaning of ‘trans’ and whetherone can indeed change themselves and if so to what degree. He believes oneshould treat the interweaved discussion of Jenner and Dolezal as anintellectual opportunity, rather than a political provocation, as it is vitalin comprehending the micropolitics of identity. Brubaker does so by analysingthe efforts to credit/discredit the identities claimed by Jenner/Dolezal; heshows why it has been easier to accept the possibility of changing gender thanchanging race. The article shows the contemporary micropolitics ofidentity is structured by friction between the language of choice,subjectivity, and self-fashioning on the one hand and on the other the languageof essence, objectivity, and biology.
The structure of the literature issimplistic to follow, as each section has a sub-heading and is logically organisedin a uniformed format. For example, in the division, ‘The enlargement of thespace for choice and self-fashioning’ (Brubaker, 2016, pp.419) it is outlinedwhat will be spoken about thus keeping the reader engaged and giving themdirection. This is then followed by an in-depth detail explanation withrelevant examples of these changes which he argues is a result of modernity,such as choice now being a much large domain, encompassing sex and genderwhereas previously it was pivotal to abortion and women’s’ rights. Thisexplanation is then evidenced as well as followed by critique of how admittedlysociety is modernising. However, there are still barriers such as that ofreligion, although Brubaker concludes that it is becoming more sociallypermissible, thus affirming ‘trans’ is more openly accepted. In the article, Brubaker indicates the conservativeparty seeking to provoke the liberals as they demanded equal treatment in the”if Jenner than Dolezal debate” (Brubaker, 2016, pp.
423). They claimed that ifJenner had the right to decide her gender, then Dolezal had the right to chooseher race – an argument likely composed to undermine transgender positionsrather than support transracial. Thus, there is no political positionunderlying the article for it doesn’t take a particular stance but ratherassesses the reaction of the left and right party and how they were forthcomingand accepting of transgender but not transracial. Conservatives would favour anessentialist position on both matters, which one can note is a part ofBrubakers’ ‘space of position’ diagram whereby he explains that people fit intofour categories regarding their views. It provides clarity and support as itseeks to explain why changing race and gender is different; however, it can be depictedas ignorant of other people who may have a different opinion.
The type of evidence used is case studies, with anyform of research in this manner, it is problematic as it consists of individualdifferences and subjective interpretation. In relation to the Dolezal affair,it can be perceived that there is a level of ethnocentrism, for this type ofcase cannot be generalised to a broader population for there are not many suchcases. Furthermore, her desire to be of a different ethnicity may portray thesuperiority of one ethnic background over another, which is a culturallysensitive topic. When talking about supra-individual objectivity of race(Brubaker, 2016, pp. 435) could draw in Green (2015) who supports Brubakers’argument but also argues that if you hold on to a historically situated notionof blackness, then this can encounter issues such as transphobia when definingthe two entities thus eluding to the reader having to be careful when drawing conclusions. Brubaker draws upon lots of research toemphasise his points, which he summarises well.
Thus the evidence substantiatesthe argument to a great degree for it encapsulates the issue. He uses examplesthroughout the literature which vary between primary and secondary data ofinformation, such as statistics, theories and scholarly writings which supportthe validity of the argument. The article is dominantly based on fact for the authorstates an argument and uses supporting evidence to strengthen his position.This basic structure of point, evidence, explanation and critique are prevalentthroughout most parts of the article.
However, sometimes it seems to lack:’analogies between race and sex have been central to the development ofantidiscrimination law and practice,’ (Brubaker, 2016, pp. 416), here he statesa point, and goes on to evidence it, but not critique it. Brubaker draws uponlegislation in different countries to further strengthen his argument oftransgenderism being more easily defined; ‘New Zealand citizens… change genderdesignation… through simple declaration and can select X… for unspecified'(Brubaker, 2016, pp. 420). This further strengthens his argument that there isa socially recognised and legally standardised procedure for changing one’sgender, but not for changing one’s race. Brubaker, to critique this point coulddraw upon Alipour (2015) who shows how some religious countries are stillstagnant in their opposition towards transgender and cannot tolerate them intheir country. To conclude, in the article Brubaker shows how sex andrace, which have previously been comprehended as stable, innate, andunambiguous, have recently widened their horizons —in various measures —to theforces of change and choice.
Brubaker provides a convincing argument in an areawhich is primarily based on experience – as seen in the article throughpredominant use of case studies – he offers an inquiry into systems ofclassification that is characteristically insightful –’Two Forms of BoundaryWork’ (Brubaker, 2016, pp. 430). Brubaker merely evidences points of’transgenderism’ providing more clarity in society than ‘transracial.’ Albeithis arguments for transracial do seem stronger for he draws upon historicalissues experienced by a race and the potential issues that a ‘transracial’person could do to the originality, in particular, black people and the issueof ‘blackface.’ Brubaker has prompted the audience to weigh the arguments putforth and come to their judgment on how they individually make sense of genderand race, self-categorisation and fluidity, nature and choice.