Disrupting the Colonial Transgender/Law Nexus

John N. ERNI*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Not long ago, clutched in colonial laws deployed to regulate dissident genders, the Hong Kong courts had never recognized the transgender person as a legitimate legal personality. Alongside powerful cultural transphobia that casts doubts on the corporeal authenticity of gender in post-operative transgender subjects, the laws held desperately onto the anachronistic and heterosexualized matrimonial framework that denies transgender subjects of their marriage rights - via the vastly productive hegemonic Judeo-Christian dogma of "one man and one woman" in marriage laws. All this was about to change because the disruptive pulse of cosmopolitan marriage laws began to vibrate in various national jurisdictions, causing ripples that spread through the legal disputes of rights first in non-procreative marriage and divorce rights, and subsequently in gay and transgender marriage legal challenges. Using the groundbreaking case of W v. Registrar of Marriages heard in Hong Kong's various courts (2010-2013), this article attempts to work through the conceptual possibilities offered by a postcolonial legal approach to understand the contingent but real legal possibilities to advance an immanent politics of transgender justice in the 20th century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-360
Number of pages10
JournalCultural Studies - Critical Methodologies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Hong Kong
  • marriage rights
  • postcolonialism
  • transgender law
  • W v. Registrar of Marriages


Dive into the research topics of 'Disrupting the Colonial Transgender/Law Nexus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this