AUDIO – Pride, prejudice – and attacks on thinking?



This is an audio recording of the OPUS event held on 13 January 2018

Led by: Anne-Marie Cummins, Stephen Whittle and Bob Withers


Evidence that attitudes towards sex and gender binaries within society are finally opening up may be seen by the recent emergence in mainstream culture of new gendered and non-gendered identities organised around notions of gender fluidity, intersexuality and transsexuality.

There are questions to be asked about ‘why now’ and what wider changes in the social unconscious have made this possible. And behind these there are deeper questions: about what this burgeoning of sexual identities and gender may indicate about a broad refusal of ‘hard’ gender differences, or about the success of queer theory in destabilizing the taken-for-granted-binaries.

At the same time some academics and psychotherapists have been criticized for being transphobic by some members of the transgender community. A few trans-activists, using petitions and protest, appear to have sought to silence debate about trans in terms of difficulty, doubt, ambivalence, dissatisfaction or regret. At the same time some feminists experience the advancement of trans rights as infringements of their own liberty. Thinking can all too easily become the first casualty of the ensuing battles.

What lies behind these phenomena? Are they merely isolated cases of mutual misunderstanding or indicative of a broader social issue? And what are the consequences for society, for thinking and for the individuals concerned? Further, if we take seriously the idea that trans personal processes are at work in the wider social unconscious, what might be happening in this simultaneous opening up and closing down of opportunities to think? Our speakers engage with these questions from the academic, psychotherapeutic and transgender perspectives respectively.



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