About the event

The Center for the Study of Women and Society is pleased to present the first Book Salon of the year. Paisley Currah will be in conversation with Red Washburn and Joshua Sealy-Harrington, to discuss Currah's new book, Sex is as Sex Does: Governing Transgender Identity (NYU Press, 2022).

Click here to register and for access to the Zoom link for this online discussion.

Sex Is as Sex Does reveals the hidden logics that have governed sex classification policies in the United States and shows what the regulation of transgender identity can tell us about society’s approach to sex and gender writ large. Ultimately, Currah demonstrates, because the difficulties transgender people face are not just the result of transphobia but also stem from larger injustices, an identity-based transgender rights movement will not, by itself, be up to the task of resolving them.

Providing examples from different states, government agencies, and court cases, Currah explains how transgender people struggle to navigate this confusing and contradictory web of legal rules, definitions, and classifications. Unlike most gender scholars, who are concerned with what the concepts of sex and gender really mean, Currah is more interested in what the category of “sex” does for governments. What does “sex” do on our driver’s licenses, in how we play sports, in how we access health care, or in the bathroom we use? Why do prisons have very different rules than social service agencies? Why is there such resistance to people changing their sex designation? Or to dropping it from identity documents altogether?

This event is co-sponsored with the Center for LGBTQ Studies (CLAGS), Women's Studies Quarterly, The Center for the Humanities, the CUNY Graduate Center PhD Program in Political Science and MA Program in Liberal Studies, the PublicsLab, and The Feminist Press.