In May 2013, the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong ruled in favour of granting transgender individuals the right to marry in their post- transition gender rather than their biological sex at birth. This landmark judgment, W v Registrar of Marriages, has been considered by many as an important milestone in the LGBT rights movement in Sinophone communities. In scrutinising both the majority and dissenting statements, a critical analysis of the parameters of queerness in this ruling shows that the liberal framing of transgender marriage rights engenders what I call ‘the polite residuals of heteronormativity’, which figures the advancement of queer interest by perpetuating certain implicit forms of gender and sexual oppression. Moreover, these residuals – concealed within a broader outlook of political progressiveness – were conditional upon a rhetoric of imperial citationality that renders giant global superpowers, especially Britain and China, as the normative frames of legal authorisation.
By Howard Chiang, 2017