Trans* objectivity

The Trans Enough project unravels the (il)logic of objectivity as reproduced by dominant medico-scientific discourse. Its compilation of the lived experiences of trans folks defies transnormative assumptions made by medico-scientific thinkers and from within the trans community. Transnormative narratives within and without the trans community are not entirely driven by notions of objectivity, but medico-scientific objectivity is an undoubtedly salient standard for reading and thinking bodies.

Thursday’s discussion of Foucault and Daston & Galison, along with the Trans Enough project, jogged my memory of Gayle Salamon’s Assuming A Body and some issues I took with it. Salamon’s excellent text posits a fundamental disconnect felt by all persons between their body and gendered self, which would theoretically prescribe all gender as transgender. This is an oversimplification of her argument, and I can’t dismiss her claim outright (it’s too damn well-composed and drenched in Butlerian and Lacanian language to decipher anyway), but it sounded a little bit problematic. Salamon might be undermining the specificity and diversity of trans experience in the name of constructing some better understanding of our (generic) selves.

That absurd aside aside, I’m trying to say that medico-scientific standards of objectivity deny the lived experiences of trans folks in favor of some hetero- and gender-normative thinking of gender identity and sexuality (a radical comment for a class dedicated to revealing the inadequacy of most dominant language’s ability to represent our bodies, I know). Foucault revealed the covert operation of power within medico-scientific objective reasoning, which demands further interrogation and resistance from queer activists and theorists alike.

In conclusion (?!), I guess I’m blogging to commend the Trans Enough project for combating medico-scientific objectivist and transnormative narrativization of trans folks’ lives. This sort of cultural resistance to biopolitical supervillains deserves more popular and critical attention. I guess I also wanted to talk about Salamon and maybe even compare Trans Enough to Eve Sedgwick for its very axiomatic assertion of intercategorical difference.

Can I go to bed?

⊗ Patrick beane ⊗

Ps – The above post contains a bit where I summarize and criticize medico-scientific objectivity, followed by a bit where I divergently construct a straw man argument against Gayle Salamon (one of my favorite theorists), followed by a bit where I try to connect the previous two bits. And that’s how I beat Shaq. Forgive me, it’s Lil 5 week. Love y’all.


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