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Judging identities, prescribing diagnosis: the role of medical knowledge in judicial decisions about rectification of transsexuals civil registry

Grant number: 14/08555-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2014
Effective date (End): January 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Laura Moutinho
Grantee:Luiza Ferreira Lima
Supervisor: João Biehl
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Princeton University, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:13/07202-8 - The truth produced in the process: un analysis of judicial decisions about transexuals rectification of civil registry in brazilian courts of justice, BP.MS


Judges, while elaborating their decisions in proceedings about rectification of identity documents of transsexuals, not only utilize rules and case laws in the construction of their arguments but also deal with another kind of discourses endowed with authority. The inscription of transsexuality in the 10th version of WHO's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) as a gender identity disorder and its constant treatment as an illness are controverted issues, but in Brazilian Courts the medical knowledge and its representations, categories and prescriptions about the subject acquire considerable importance in the decision-making process: medical literature, reports and regulations have an unquestionable essential role. The present research intends to analyse the way that the medical knowledge occupies the judicial debate,the implications of its relation with the law in the production of extralegal categories such as "sex", "gender", "transexuality" and "identity" and its role in the elaboration of a juridical truth about bodies and people. (AU)

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