English transgender law reform and the spectre of Corbett

Andrew Sharpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This article will provide a critique of two recent English marriage law decisions, the first concerning a (female to male) transgender man and the second a (male to female)intersexed woman. It will do so through consideration of the dialogue between each and the landmark transgender case of Corbett v. Corbett. It will highlight how both decisions, in seeking to minimise the fact of 'departure' from Corbett, serve to reproduce key elements of that decision which serve to undermine the future prospects for transgender law reform in the English context. In particular, both decisions, in different ways, or with different emphases, ensure that 'legal sex' continues to be determined by(bio)logical and temporal factors. Crucially, however, as in Corbett, it is legal anxiety over the boundaries of the 'natural', and the homophobia of law, that underscores this anxiety, that account for these particular constructions of 'legal sex'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-89
Number of pages25
JournalFeminist legal studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • biological science
  • homosexuality
  • intersex
  • marriage
  • nature
  • sexual capacity
  • transgender


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