Unknowable Bodies, Unthinkable Sexualities: Lesbian and Transgender Legal Invisibility in the Toronto Women’s Bathhouse Raid

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Lamble, Sarah (2009)

Although litigation involving sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination claims has generated considerable public attention in recent years, lesbian and transgender bodies and sexualities still remain largely invisible in Anglo-American courts. While such invisibility is generally attributed to social norms that fail to recognize lesbian and transgender experiences, the capacity to 'not see' or 'not know' queer bodies and sexualities also involves wilful acts of ignorance. Drawing from R. v Hornick (2002) a Canadian case involving the police raid of a women's bathhouse, this article explores how lesbian and transgender bodies and sexualities are actively rendered invisible via legal knowledge practices, norms and rationalities. It argues that limited knowledge and limited thinking not only regulate the borders of visibility and belonging, but play an active part in shaping identities, governing conduct and producing subjectivity.
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