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Philosophy and transgender people

Philosophy is an academic discipline that examines the general and fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, existence, reason, values, mind, and language. Because of its scope, several subfields of philosophy are important to transgender issues in specific ways, including:

Trans and gender diverse philosophers

Note: This is an uncategorized list of academics and public intellectuals whose work touches on philosophical matters related to gender identity and expression. Some of the people listed below do not consider themselves professional academics, and some do not consider themselves transgender. For others, philosophy is not the primary focus of their scholarly interests.

Gender-supportive philosophy

Some people engaged in philosophical inquiry have done so in ways that were accidentally or intentionally supportive of trans and gender diverse people, including:

  • Aleardo Zanghellini

Gender-critical philosophy

According to Samantha Hancox-Li:

Over the last couple of years we have had a transphobia crisis in philosophy. It began with the 2017 publication of Rebecca Tuvel’s “In Defense of Transracialism,” which argued that if one can identify as another gender, one can also identify as another race. This article provoked a wide-ranging controversy, including an open letter calling for the article to be retracted, outcry against the open letter, and a series of musings by Kathleen Stock on the nature of gender and race. Stock’s posts prompted a strongly-worded response from Talia Mae Bettcher, who argued that Stock and others were ignoring a long history of feminist and queer scholarship on the subject. The backlash to Bettcher’s article raised a number of transphobic philosophers to prominence, most famously Kathleen Stock but also Sophie Allen, Jane Clare Jones, Holly Lawford-Smith, Mary Leng, and Rebecca Reilly-Cooper.1

Hancox-Lee (2019)

Some people engaged in philosophical inquiry have done so in ways that were accidentally or intentionally harmful to trans and gender diverse people, including:


Marvin, Amy (September 21, 2019). A Brief History of Trans Philosophy. Contingent Magazine.

Hancox-Li, [Leif] (October 1, 2019). Why Has Transphobia Gone Mainstream in Philosophy? The Contingent

Bettcher, Talia (2014). Feminist Perspectives on Trans IssuesThe Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).