Cultural Harm: ‘trans fraud’, ‘gender deception’ and zero-sum games

Boukli, Avi and Copson, Lynne (2019). Cultural Harm: ‘trans fraud’, ‘gender deception’ and zero-sum games. Justice, Power and Resistance, 3(2) pp. 26–48.



In recent years zemiology has emerged to pose key questions about the ways in which social harm emerges from non-criminalised deleterious acts, from criminalisation processes and from the everyday workings of our socioeconomic systems. This article both explores and contributes to the zemiological perspective by focusing specifically on developing the notion of cultural harm, as one aspect of social harm. Utilising the examples of (i) the Gender Recognition Act 2004, (ii) a case of ‘trans fraud’ and imprisonment, (iii) and three legal cases involving ‘gender deception’, it explores the limitations of zero-sum approaches to recognising harm. In doing so, the article develops a typology of cultural harm that enables us to move beyond current conflicting claims to harm and begin to identify alternatives that better recognise and address all forms of harm, including those imposed by the hegemonic cis-hetero-patriarchal structures.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions