What if the state no longer sexed us?

Hosted by the Department of Gender Studies

PAN.G.01, Pankhurst House, Ground Floor, London School of Economics and Political Science


Professor Davina Cooper

Professor Davina Cooper

Research Professor in Law and Political Theory at King’s College London

Dr Magdalena Mikulak

Dr Magdalena Mikulak

Postdoctoral Researcher at Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford


Dr Jacob Breslow

Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality

Would it be a good idea to no longer have a legal gender?
Drawing on findings from the first year of an ESRC project on The Future of Legal Gender, this talk explores the implications and limitations of decertification where state law no longer registers, confirms, assigns or guarantees sex/gender.

Approaching this law reform proposal from a feminist perspective, the talk focuses on two questions: how might removing legal gender status change our understanding of what gender is? And can a prefigurative law reform project, which treats not yet accepted proposals as if they were already on the law reform table, illuminate the stakes and possibilities present in the struggle over gender’s future?


Davina Cooper is a research professor in law and political theory at The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London. Her work focuses on new ideas for thinking about social transformation.  She has written extensively on gender and feminism, including in relation to questions of diversity, equality, sexuality and the state. Her books include Everyday UtopiasChallenging Diversity, Governing out of OrderPower in Struggle and Sexing the City. Before coming to King’s, she worked at the University of Kent where she also directed the AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender & Sexuality. She has been a magistrate and specialist advisor to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education.  In the 1980s, she was a member of Haringey Council, and chaired its Women’s Committee.

Dr Magdalena Mikulak is a postdoctoral researcher working on an NIHR-funded project on gender identity, trans health and the support needs of trans and gender diverse young people, and their families. She has a PhD in Gender Studies from LSE. Her doctoral project examined the way processes of neoliberalization impact upon the politics of sexuality in contemporary Poland. Her research interests include gender, sexualities, neoliberalism, LGBTQ activism(s), healthcare, social change and social movements.

Dr Jacob Breslow is Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality at the LSE Department of Gender Studies. His primary area of research is on contemporary U.S. social justice movements, and the ways in which the idea of childhood operates within and against them. Specifically, this work interrogates and thinks with Black Lives Matter, transfeminism, queer youth activism, and anti-deportation movements. His forthcoming book on this research, under contract with the University of Minnesota Press, is tentatively titled Speculative Childhoods: Ambivalence, Belonging and the Psychic Life of the Child

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