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Call me by my (other) name

Our new permanent columnist, philosopher and curator Paul B. Preciado, describes the political and social construction of gender identity and the right to define who you are.

It happens even more, though less frequently than before, that I meet a person who insists on addressing me by a female name or refuses to call me by first name – that is, by the other name, which is now mine. I can refute that person's request rhetorically, and I can provide institutional evidence and show my new identity card – just as the Jew who had converted to Christianity did in the 1400th century – when the convert presented his certificate of spotless blood. I can also screw up my masculine behavior, stop shaving for a few days, go with heavier boots, wider pants and leave the handbag at home. I can even spit in the street while walking, or stop smiling (masculine behavior sometimes requires a silly choreography). None of these approaches, however, is sufficient to prove a gender truth for the good reason that gender truth (like the spotless blood of the 1400th century) does not exist outside a collection of social and interpersonal. . .

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Precadio is an author, philosopher, curator focusing on identity, gender, pornography, architecture and sexuality. Residing in Barcelona.

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