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Childhood, children’s literature and (trans)gender identity in current western discourse

Lesnik-Oberstein, K. ORCID: (2023) Childhood, children’s literature and (trans)gender identity in current western discourse. In: Zhu, Z. and Xu, D. (eds.) New International Perspectives: A Collection of Lectures on Children's Literature. Tomorrow Publishing House, Jinan, China. (In Press)

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On the twenty-third of May 2015, Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. This event reversed a large part, if not all, of Ireland’s reputation for a Catholic-led conservatism concerning sexual and gender identities. I argue in this article that we can see a parallel-in-miniature to this momentous shift in something of a reversal of children’s literature’s views in this respect too, and I will concentrate on exploring what is at stake in the ways that childhood, sexual and gender identities are constructed in some recent children’s literature criticism in the light of these shifts. My interest is to consider: what is the ever-burgeoning interest in the gay, queer, cross-dressing, transsexual or transgender child precisely about? I ask this question on the grounds of not assuming that this interest in these identities arises necessarily simply out of a self-evident, progressive, liberatory impulse, and, alongside this, I also do not assume that ‘identities’ are essential, self-organised traits awaiting revelation and liberation.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Graduate Centre for International Research in Childhood (CIRCL)
ID Code:79529
Uncontrolled Keywords:childhood; transgender; gender; sexuality; children's literature; cross-dressing; theoretical approaches
Publisher:Tomorrow Publishing House

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