Defending Gender AbolitionTamara Browne
The world we live in is steeped in gender roles and norms which are harmful and particularly oppressive to women and those in the LGBTIQ+ community. Gender abolition proposes that we work towards a society in which individuals would be free to express themselves in so-called masculine or feminine ways regardless of their physiology, and the gender binary that divides almost all aspects of society would disappear. In other words, while our bodies may stay the same and our physiology would still matter in contexts in which one’s physiology is indeed relevant, there would no longer be an expectation that physiological sex differences correspond to certain gender identities, roles and norms. The main argument in favour of gender abolition is that it would provide greater freedom to those who do not conform to gender stereotypes while continuing to enable freedom to those who do conform. As a result, individuals would have greater self-actualisation and freedom to express their full potential. However, there are some who argue that abolishing gender altogether goes too far, stating (among other objections) that it has the potential to harm some individuals, including trans people, for whom gender is an important part of their identity. This paper presents some counter-arguments to those objections and supports the ethical case for a gender-free society.
Tamara Kayali Browne is a Senior Lecturer in Health Ethics and Professionalism at Deakin University and an Adjunct Research Fellow at Charles Sturt University. They completed their PhD at the University of Cambridge and later served as Lecturer in Bioethics at the Australian National University, winning three teaching awards. Their primary research expertise is in the ethics of reproductive technology, gender and mental illness. Their book, Depression and the Self was published with Cambridge University Press.
September 27, 2022, 3:30pm +10:00
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