It’s difficult to tell from the footage given how the editor(s) decided to present information, but I felt that Professor Grzanka’s interview at the University of Tennessee was one the right track by answering the question as a conversation or a dialectic rather than Walsh pushing for a simple “truth” that could transcend context. I think Walsh intentionally avoids even attempting to answer his own question because he knows exactly what kind of trap he’s set for anyone who tries.

So let’s say I’m pulled into a conversation on the subject. I would probably begin by noting that topics of identity are complex, variable, and context-dependent. I would point to various historical accounts of human identity and sexuality that show this isn’t a new question. After the conversation, the question will not be resolved. I would probably name-drop Tiresias. Given the kinds of conversations that have come up in my classroom lectures, I’m sure I would bring up how social issues of identity tend to fixate on visible features (skin color, handedness, etc.) over less visible features like blood type. Feminism would come up, and I would note how it isn’t monolithic. I would discuss language, translation, category mistakes. Biology would come up. Technology would come up. Prosthesis would come up. Someone would eventually ask, “So what takeaways did we get from all this?” I will probably be the one to say — even if I were the one asking — “good question.”


My name anagrams to “a man becomes.” I love movies and Kurt Vonnegut. I don’t understand how anagrams work.

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