Dr. Louise Richardson-Self

The metaphysics of sex and gender is of significant philosophical, social, and cultural interest to feminists at present. A key site of ongoing debate is whether AMAB (assigned "male" at birth) people can be (and so should be recognised as) women, and thus whether their interests fall within the scope of feminist aims. The terms "transgender" and "cisgender" have thus been central distinguishing categories. Some argue that the use of “cisgender” makes our social world fairer and more inclusive. However, others find the term offensive and problematic. This article explores the process involved in coming to recognise oneself anew as cisgender, and likewise the process of refusal of such self- and other-recognition. For, while feminists have paid much attention to the question “what does it mean to be a woman?” there has been much less attention spent on the question “what does it mean to be cisgender?” When we (refuse to) recognise ourselves as this (id)entity, how does this impact the feminist project? What can we learn about the maintenance and disturbance of queer/cis-hetero, man/woman/other hierarchies of social identity power? Ultimately, this article argues that adopting cisgender identity for oneself and recognising other women as cisgender is core to women’s empowerment. 

Please RVSP A/Prof Marguerite La Caze (m.lacaze@uq.edu.au) to register.