Two LGBTQ affirmative US Supreme Court Rulings occurred in the second decade of the twenty-first century: the 2015 Obergefell ruling in support of same sex marriage, and the 2020 Bostock decision ruling that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited by Title VII. In The Politicization of Trans Identity: An Analysis of Backlash, Scapegoating, and Dog-Whistling from Obergefell to Bostock, Loren Cannon critiques the opinions of the court in both cases. Cannon carefully presents the evidence that transgender identity itself has become politicized post Obergefell and provides a thorough consideration of the ramifications of this politicization across the nation, especially in the form of proposed legislation and violence. Cannon argues that the politicization of trans identity can rightfully be understood as a backlash response to the Obergefell decision and increased LGBTQ equality. According to Cannon, aspects of the politicization can be characterized as scapegoating and as dog-whistling. This book offers unique contributions to the understanding of these ideas, including a creative application of Rene Girard’s theory of scapegoating. Lastly, Cannon argues that conceptually, virtue signaling needs to be paired with dog-whistling to have the political result that the whistler intends.
Loren Cannon, PhD, teaches philosophy at Cal Poly Humboldt.
Chapter One: The Obergefell Decision
Chapter Two: The Anti-Trans Offensive
Chapter Three: The Case Against Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bills
Chapter Four: Backlash
Chapter Five: Scapegoating: The Over-Blaming Account
Chapter Six: Scapegoating, The Girardian Account
Chapter Seven: Dog Whistles and Virtue Signaling
Chapter Eight: But for and the Bostock Decision
"A superbly researched, powerful analysis and critique of the politicization of trans identity, from the backlash against the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage to the Court’s arguments for and against protecting trans individuals under sex discrimination law. Cannon deftly weaves extensive discussion of the law, philosophical analyses of contemporary politics, and impassioned protest into a truly enlightening and important book."
"The Politicalization of Trans Identity offers a concise and critical intervention within philosophical studies of the co-enabling functions of gender, sexuality, class, and race within U.S. law, including a highly relevant focus on the increasing forms of anti-trans legislation and trans-directed violence occurring over the last decade. Cannon’s careful periodization of the Obergefell decision (2015) to the Bostock ruling (2020), as well as his detailed analyses of those Supreme Court cases and their accompanying public reactions are exemplary of the scholarly breadth and depth needed on trans issues in philosophy today."
"In a world where what usually passes for discussion of trans issues consists mainly in social-media sniping, Loren Cannon’s lucid, rigorous new book is a breath of fresh air. Whether his arguments persuade you, intrigue you, provoke you—or, variously, all of the above—you cannot help but be transformed by them. Anyone seeking insight into this important topic should buy this book."
"Cannon provides an astute philosophical analysis of the legal reasoning behind the US Supreme Court’s 2015 Oberfell and its 2020 Bostock decisions as well as the political and moral problems attending to both. The heart of the book, however, is a highly illuminating analysis of the so-called 'bathroom bills' through the related concepts of backlash, scapegoating, and dog whistles. Cannon’s writing is lucid, passionate, and politically grounded. And the book is a glowing example of engaged philosophy at its finest."
Cannon grapples with the opposing developments of the Supreme Court victories for LGBTQ rights in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) and Bostock v. Clayton County (2020) and the rapid increase in proposed and enacted laws that limit LGBTQ rights, especially transgender rights. Cannon locates Obergefell as the general starting point for anti-transgender legislation. Though not criticizing these decisions—in fact, praising them—Cannon explores how persistent structural inequalities continue to limit transgender and gender nonbinary individuals and embolden gender traditionalism in the contemporary conservative legal and political movements. Cannon creates a rich theoretical foundation for readers to apply to this aspect of anti-transgender politics and many others. Recommended. Undergraduates through faculty.
11/29/22, Choice Reviews: This book was featured as a top community college title.