Pass or Die: Is There Life Without Gender?

Speakers: Miqqi Alicia Gilbert (Department of Philosophy, York University)
Carys Massarella (Division of Emergency Medicine, McMaster University)
Sharlee Reimer (Department of English & Cultural Studies, McMaster University)

Date: 4th December 2013, 3:30pm
Venue: Togo Salmon Hall (TSH) B106


Judith Butler famously said that to be understandable as a person, to make sense as a human being, one must be gendered in accordance with the standard social conventions. There’s no such thing as a person who is not a woman or a man. You must be, “gendered in conformity with recognizable standards of gender intelligibility”. If you are not, then you are not a person and because of that you have no rights, no protections, and, often, no legal status. Thus you cannot exist as a trans person, but only as a conforming member of the gender binary. In other words, the cost of personhood is the invisibility of trans, a price that may not be too dear for some, is impossible for others, and demands deception for all. In this talk I will discuss the significance of this, what it means, and how it traps us without our permission or choice.