Beyond Masculine and Feminine—a conversation about gender identity

I would love to see some thoughtful comments—especially from people who may not have participated in this forum before—on this Chthonia podcast hosted by @sororbrigid, featuring @Geoffreyjen_Edwards and @mankinddivine, on the topics of gender identity and the transformations of sexuality that we’re witnessing in today’s world.

Edwards, as a science fiction author, has written an innovative novel titled Plenum (disclosure: of which I was one of the editors), which explores the questions discussed here from a far-future technological and spiritual perspective. Matsangos, as the author of a book on gender theory titled The Male Lesbian Manifesto (in its forthcoming English translation), explores the same territory from a radically different (yet perhaps compatible) point of view.

I found the conversation thought-provoking, to say the least, and I feel these topics deserve a wider and deeper consideration in the open-minded and adventurous spirit of Infinite Conversations. Please feel warmly welcome to share your thoughts below!


To add more of a political dimension to this conversation—though not an opinion I necessarily espouse—here is a recent article by Slavoj Zizek, who also, like Matsangos, grounds some of his thinking in psychoanalytic/Lacanian theory, though arguing against the current trends relating to gender fluidity, albeit specifically as it concerns adolescents, and with considerable nuance.

In statement pertinent to the discussion above—after critiquing the use puberty blockers for young people experiencing gender dysphoria—he adds:

One should take a step even further in this criticism and question the very basic claim that arriving at sexual identity is a matter of mature free choice. There is nothing “abnormal” in sexual confusion: What we call “sexual maturation” is a long, complex, and mostly unconscious process. It is full of violent tensions and reversals—not a process of discovering what one really is in the depth of one’s psyche.

…which strikes me as an important observation.

In the article as a whole, Zizek criticizes the merging of gender (as well as racial) struggles for recognition with ideological “wokeness” as a political and even capitalist power play. I am personally wary of following Zizek in a reactionary mode, absent real empathy and universal compassion. Yet he hits on something here that we all might notice:

The situation of those terrorized by the woke elite is more complex, but still clear: They submit to woke demands because most of them really are guilty of participating in social domination, but submitting to woke demands offers them an easy way out—you gladly assume your guilt insofar as this enables you to go on living the way you did. It’s the old Protestant logic: “Do whatever you want, just feel guilty for it.”

Most thought provoking for me in this article is the invocation of a dream logic and analysis at the end:

“The woke awaken us—to racism and sexism—precisely to enable us to go on sleeping.”

I tend to think we need to integrate “wokeness” and transcend it—really wake up—rather than reject its core claims for diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and so on. At the same time, I totally reject any prohibition on free thought and reasonable discourse, which is carried out in good faith. I do not believe that truth and power are the same thing.

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