The past couple days have been long. Our editorial team has been in Baltimore since Wednesday for the American Philosophical Association which concluded earlier this afternoon. Though I did not make it to all the sessions that I wanted to, I still managed to sit in a couple that were particularly profound. I had the pleasure to sit in on the Society for LGBTQ Philosophy’s seminar where they focused specifically on Trans philosophy this year. There was multiple presentations but there was one that stuck out to me, Bryan Kimoto’s “You Can Tell By The Way I Walk: Foucauldian Archeology and Trans* Studies”. Clever title, 8/10.
First, I would like to say that this was a fantastic presentation, they engaged the question “Why do trans people get targeted for violence?” It is a serious question in contemporary culture given that Trans people are at the highest risk for sexual assault and violence. The average life expectancy of a trans person is roughly 30-32 years. (Research conducted by Graciela Balestra) It really puts things into a grim perspective for trans people and to fight against violence, we must understand why trans folks are targeted in the first place. I think Kimoto answers this.
They discussed how when we think of people trying to fit within their respective gender scripts, there is a level of assimilation that most people can meet on a day to day bases. Trans people, given their identity, do not fit well into the scripts and cast themselves out as a result. Kimoto explained it something similar to a standard deviation in which cis people are in the center focuses of the bell curve whereas trans people are on the edge. This edge is just enough to diminish their social worth unfortunately.
What I found to be profound about Kimoto’s presentation was placing sexuality and gender on that standard deviation scale. Beforehand, I always perceived sexuality and gender on something similar to a scale of one to ten. It would start as straight or heterosexuality, bisexuality or pansexuality, homosexuality, gender queer, and then transgender. The reason why I saw it as such was so that it could have given an explanation to how homo-eroticism and defiance of gender scripts gets manifested into the person on an ontological level. Kimoto’s presentation did not do that but instead explains how credibility and social standing has some correlation with where they find themselves on this bell curve. Talk about profound.
Overall, I would say that the APA was well worth the trip. Some sessions that you attend make all the difference and for 2017, it is a great way to pave my studies for queer theory this semester. Plus, I managed to snag some books on sale; that was a win in and of itself. Its been a pleasure to visit Baltimore and come to the APA. I can’t wait to see what this year has to bring.