Rebecca Reilly-Cooper

Wednesday, March 16 2016 at 7:30PM

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Fargo Village,
Far Gosford Street,

Rebecca Reilly-Cooper

What's the talk about?

The idea of Gender Identity is currently enjoying a significant amount of social, political and cultural momentum. An active and highly vocal political movement has emerged around the ideas that at least some, and possibly all, individuals possess something called a “Gender Identity”, that this is often the site of political marginalization and oppression, and that an individual’s professed Gender Identity must be respected and protected. In some cases, this is being converted into legislative changes, with laws protecting individuals from discrimination or harassment on the basis of their Gender Identity being enacted in many jurisdictions.

Especially now that this discourse is being translated into concrete policy and legislative changes, one might hope that this concept - the concept of Gender Identity - would be clearly defined and able to be easily understood. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The terminology and the ideas surrounding the notion of Gender Identity are vague, confusing and ever shifting, so that as soon as one has caught up and learned the appropriate terms and the concepts to which they refer, the rules are likely to change. Furthermore, the political discourse of Gender Identity, and the ideas and concepts that embody the political movement surrounding the notion, are riddled with inconsistencies and conceptual incoherence, which render the political debate surrounding gender politics increasingly impenetrable. In this talk, I will examine the philosophical coherence and scientific plausibility of the notion of Gender Identity, as well as the social and cultural implications of its associated identity politics.