2021 Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference: Hermeneutical Injustice for Tennessee Transgender Youth by Julian Rome

Activity: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENTConference AttendanceProfessional Development


This year, three bills were proposed and passed in the Tennessee legislature which would, taken together, prohibit minors from medically transitioning and from being acknowledged as a gender other than their sex at birth in important areas of the school setting. Specifically, these bills would (1) prohibit transgender youth from participating in school sports corresponding with their gender identities, (2) prohibit medical providers from facilitating youths’ medical transitions, and (3) prohibit transgender youth from using restrooms corresponding with their gender identities in schools. In this paper, I explain how these pieces of legislation contribute to specifically hermeneutical injustices for transgender youth. This is because they implement manifest concepts of ‘gender’ and ‘medical transition’ which obscure the operative concept of ‘transgender’ from the collective hermeneutical resource in a way that systematically disadvantages transgender individuals. By looking at the way in which this hermeneutical injustice subsists in the tensions and power imbalances between competing manifest and operative concepts, we may be better able to identify, first, ways of counteracting it, and second, other hermeneutical injustices which subsist in similar circumstances.
Period7 Jul 2021