Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2017


Why do courts and legislatures ban discrimination based on gender, and increasingly, gender identity, but exempt grooming and dress codes from the protections these laws offer? I argue that culpability for the courts’ and legislatures’ defense of hegemonic gender norms cannot be assigned to transgender rights movement, as some have done. These norms do not regulate only transgender people, they are not minoritizing—and neither should be the politics that seeks to transform them. The thought experiment of this review essay was to sever the analysis of particular political strategies from various assumptions about what gender really is. Agreement on the origin of gender is not required to challenge the ability of employers and judges to force people to adhere to gender norms. What is required is a shared commitment to the political value of gender equality.


This is the accepted manuscript of an article originally published in Tulsa Law Review, available at


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.