In all unambiguously patriarchal societies— that is, in most societies of documented history and of the present1—binary models of gender dominate ideology and practice, leading to repressive and oppressive consequences for women and all individuals who don’t identify with a strictly masculine or feminine gender archetype. While the persistence of patriarchal social structures throughout human history might be difficult to understand in terms of a single analytical framework, it is safe to argue that no patriarchal society could develop and survive without the construction and continual operation of a binary model of gender (from here on, I will refer to this model through the shorthand form binary gender). As a patriarchal society, Kuwait is no exception to this ground rule. The fact that binary gender remains the only acceptable model of gender in the country’s popular discourses and official policies has led to various oppressive consequences, including but not limited to the marginalization of women in the public sphere, the popular and official policing and persecution of transgender people for their non-binary expressions of gender identity, and gender segregation in public education.
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