Gender’s Wider Stakes: Lay Attitudes to Legal Gender Reform


  • Elizabeth Peel
  • Hannah JH Newman



The Future of Legal Gender (FLaG) project is interested in examining the implications, for a wide range of stakeholders, of changing how legal sex/gender is regulated in England and Wales. In this article, we explore the views of ‘the wider public’ as manifest in responses to our ‘Attitudes to Gender’ survey (n=3,101), which ran in October to December 2018. Generally, respondents were invested in the status quo regarding a binary two-sex registration of gender close to birth. We discuss this finding with reference to cisgenderism and endosexism, focusing particularly on being critical of ‘gender’ and foregrounding biological sex, and views for and against self-identifying gender. In tandem, we also provide a critical commentary on the methodological positives and pitfalls associated with online survey research on a ‘topical’ issue. We suggest that cisgenderism could provide a less individualised framework for understanding different people’s hopes and worries with regard to both the current legal gender framework, and the possibility of reform.     

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Peel

Elizabeth Peel, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor (Doctoral College) and Professor of Communication and Social Interaction, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Loughborough University, UK.

Hannah JH Newman

Research Associate, School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, UK; previously Research Associate on the Future of Legal Gender (FLaG) project.



How to Cite

Peel, E. ., & Newman, H. J. (2020). Gender’s Wider Stakes: Lay Attitudes to Legal Gender Reform . Feminists@law, 10(2).



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