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Politik- und Rechtswissenschaften


Transitioning Gender Equality to the Equality of Sexgender Diversity

by Persson Perry Baumgartinger

In this article, I will show that achieving sustainable “gender equality” is possible only when sexgender is seen as a whole, that is, when human rights are extended to those who are intersex, trans, and sexgender non-conforming. This transformation is shown in the 2006 Yogyakarta Principles (YP) and the 2017 addition to them, the Yogyakarta Principles Plus 10 (YP+10), in their extension of Human Rights Law in the years 2006 and 2017, based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).

To do so, I will take the word transition literally in the sense of trans-ness, and will use the concept of “trans-” as an intersectionalapproach to sexgender diversity. I will also use the neologism “sexgender” as an umbrella term to include the diverse spectrum of sexes and genders. Furthermore, data gathered on the situation of sexgender-diverse people worldwide, as well as claims made by intersex, trans and sexgender non-conforming activists, will support my conclusion that the SDG 5 (UN Sustainable Development Goal) must adopt a broader understanding of sexes and genders in order to do justice to intersex, trans, and sexgender nonconforming children and adults.

The UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 “GenderEquality” is one of 17 goals aiming to change global inequalitiesuntil 2030. Contrary to the prior Millennium DevelopmentGoals (MDGs), the SDGs not only target the GlobalSouth and East, but also make the Global North and Westaccountable for the global inequalities.

SDG 5 “Gender Equality”, however, uses the term “gender” as a binary concept that includes only men and women considered healthy, and counts only specific women and girls as relevant: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. In this article, I argue that this is far too short a connotation of a phenomenon I call “sexgender”. Not only does it erase this notion of sexgender, a colonial concept, a multiplicity of diverse sexes and genders, which is deeply entangled in Western ideologies on sexual orientation and economy; it also leaves out large parts of the worldwide population, particularly intersex, trans, and sexgender nonconforming people(1) (ITGNC) (EATHAN 2018, p. 3), who face human rights violations in many areas, such as education, employment, housing, access to health sectors, detention, migration, media representation, as well as oppressive norms shaped by societal and religiously informed prejudices, just to name a few. Furthermore, the term “sexgender” includes Rubin’s “sex/gender system” (Rubin 1975,p. 195) and explicitly refers to a patriarchal, heteronormative, binary societal structure of power relations.

In this article, I show that the goal “gender equality” can only be sustainably achieved if we understand sexgender holistically; that means if the human rights of intersex, trans, and sexgender non-conforming people are included. The Yogyakarta Principles (YP 2006) and their additional Yogyakarta Principles Plus 10 (YP+10 2017) provide an example of how such a necessary transformation can be achieved with their extension of the Human Rights Law on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).(2) To do so, I take the term transition literally in the sense of trans-ness, and use the concept of trans- (Stryker et al. 2008) as an intersectional approach to sexgender diversity; I also draw on the neologism “sexgender” as an umbrella term to include different aspects of the diversity of sexes and genders. By including data on the situation of sexgender-diverse people worldwide and referencing the claims of intersex, trans and sexgender non-conforming activists, I arrive at the conclusion that the SDG 5 requires a broader understanding of sexes and genders to do intersex, trans, and sexgender nonconforming children and adults justice—as well as men and women who fall outside their respective societal and cultural norms.

(1) While the East Africa Trans Health and Advocacy Network(EATHAN) uses the term “gender non-conforming”, I extended it to “sexgender non-conforming”

(2) The acronym SOGIESC stands for sexual orientation (SO), gender identity (GI), gender expression (E) and sex characteristics (SC). Although this article does not focus on sexual orientation, it cannot be separated from sexgender diversity, especially in pre-colonial and non-western concepts.

Auszug aus: Baumgartinger, Persson P. (2021) “Transitioning Gender Equality to the Equality of Sexgender Diversity” in Binswanger, Christa u. Zimmermann, Andrea (Hrsg.) Transitioning to Gender Equality, MDPI, S. 85-94

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› Kappler, Katrin und Vogt, Vinzent (Hrsg.) (2019) Gender im Völkerrecht – Konfliktlagen und Errungenschaften, Nomos.

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› Shaw, Sylvia (2020) Women, Language and Politics, Cambridge University Press.

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