The Body and Mind in Transition
Wooldridge, Roland P.
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The question of what it is to have a mind and a body is a recurring central theme in both early and modern philosophy. This question come to the forefront when examining and understanding transgender identities. In the midst of a continuing epidemic of violence and discriminating against the transgender population, it is important for transgender individuals such as myself to create our own method of analysis and narrative construction. In this paper, I discuss which theories I think accurately depict the transgender narrative, drawing primarily from theorist Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception I will argue against Cartesian dualism and other flawed theories to create my own theory of what it is to have a mind and a body in transition. By rereading gender into Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s account of sexuality, my objective is to create a transgender phenomenology that is not merely essentialist or biological. Focusing on Merleau-Ponty’s description of sexuality as reciprocally reflecting existence, I intend to offer a positive and unique account of transgender identity that allows transgender people to reclaim the transgender narrative on their own terms and shows the ways in which gender is truly lived. While writing this paper, I hope to gain a better understanding of my own transgender identity as part of my own journey of self-discovery as an out transgender male.