An Interview with Paisley Currah, author of SEX IS AS SEX DOES

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Tue, 05/17/2022 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
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Please join us for Transpositive PDX on Tuesday, May 17th on KBOO Community Radio as we talk with  with Paisley Currah, author of SEX IS AS SEX DOES.  PAISLEY CURRAH is Professor of Political Science and Women’s & Gender Studies at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. An award-winning author, he is the founding co-editor of the journal Transgender Studies Quarterly and the co-editor of Transgender Right and Corpus: An Interdisciplinary Reader on Bodies and Knowledge.   

“The attacks on those who have succumbed to ‘gender ideology’ are not limited to transgender people—we are just the most obvious manifestation of the disorder it wrought,” Currah contends. “If the trans political movement fails to challenge the larger asymmetry of power in gender relations that is responsible for cementing sex into the legal structures in the first place and is now responsible for continuing gender subordination outside the legal sphere (such as pay disparity and the structures of work and family life) that disproportionately affect women, it will indeed turn out to have been nothing more than a minoritizing, single-focused, limited political project.” 

In SEX IS AS SEX DOES: Governing Transgender Identity (NYU Press; May 2022), noted scholar and transgender advocate Paisley Currah explains how transgender people struggle to navigate this confusing and contradictory web of legal rules, definitions, and classifications. Though examining these policies, Currah shows how government agencies have been far less interested in adhering to a universal idea about what sex is—biological assignment at birth, self-understood gender identity, and so on—than in what sex does for that agency's mission. Officials in prisons, for example, often define sex differently than do officials in the Department of Motor Vehicles, even when those officials work in the same jurisdiction of a single city or state.

Transpositive is a biweekly program in Portland exploring themes important to those who identify as Transgender, Gender Non-Binary, and Gender Non-Conforming. Transpositive tries to connect listeners with the ongoing activist, arts, culture, and dialogue happening in Portland and beyond. Make your voice heard! Transpositive PDX is open to new and experienced programmers, guests, and events you want our community to know about. We are an open collective. Anyone identify as trans, gender non-binary, gender fluid is welcome to be part of our collective after completing some basic free radio training. For more information contact Emma at

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