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Thoughts for next week…

Because we had to end class a little abruptly this week, we didn’t really get to talk about the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. If you want to know more about the MWMF/trans controversy, check out this website. If you want to know about the trans community’s response, check out Camp Trans. Both the controversy surrounding Janice Raymond’s book The Transsexual Empire and the continuing conflict at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF) raise important questions about community and, most importantly for next week’s class, gender/sexual identity. In different ways, Raymond and organizers of the MWMF present us with an essential gender identity of “woman? which is directly linked to biology and “sex?: “real women? are biologically born as women.

In next week’s class, we will begin exploring how transgender and queer activists/scholars are complicating the explicit connection between sex (the body/biology) and gender. We will ask questions like: Does sex have a history? How are sex and gender connected? And what role does gender play in our understandings and representations of sexuality (particularly in terms of categories like butch and femme)?