Language and law at stake: An investigation into transgender people’s rights and identity representation in the UK

Vanda Polese, Angela Zottola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Gender identities are probably one of the most relevant issues in the 21st century. As a tool through which identity is constructed, performed and represented (Sunderland 2004 ; Joseph 2016), language has always played a major role in the shaping and negotiating of these identities. In this wake, the discourse around transgender identities has increasingly become of interest in the public debate as well. In light of this, this study aims at investigating the role that the English language plays in shaping and negotiating transgender identities and its multi-faceted nature involving legal, political, medical and cultural sides among others. More specifically, this study will focus on the language used both in law and in media communication to shape transgender identities, starting from the Gender Recognition Act of 2004 to the Equality Act in 2010, which was issued to replace the existing anti-discrimination law. By taking into account a number of news texts from the British press published contemporarily to the Acts under scrutiny we wish to explore the extent to which the issuing of the laws impacted major newspapers in the UK and shed some light on linguistic-legal aspects concerning this topic. The analysis will fall into the framework of Corpus-assisted Discourse Analysis (CADS ; Partington, Duguid & Taylor 2013 ; Baker 2006).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-96
Journal Rivista di psicolinguistica applicata
VolumeXIX
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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