•  11982
    What Is Sexual Orientation?
    Philosophers' Imprint 16. 2016.
    Ordinary discourse is filled with discussions about ‘sexual orientation’. This discourse might suggest a common understanding of what sexual orientation is. But even a cursory search turns up vastly differing, conflicting, and sometimes ethically troubling characterizations of sexual orientation. The conceptual jumble surrounding sexual orientation suggests that the topic is overripe for philosophical exploration. This paper lays the groundwork for such an exploration. In it, I offer an account …Read more
  •  7929
    Real Talk on the Metaphysics of Gender
    Philosophical Topics 46 (2): 21-50. 2018.
    Gender classifications often are controversial. These controversies typically focus on whether gender classifications align with facts about gender kind membership: Could someone really be nonbinary? Is Chris Mosier really a man? I think this is a bad approach. Consider the possibility of ontological oppression, which arises when social kinds operating in a context unjustly constrain the behaviors, concepts, or affect of certain groups. Gender kinds operating in dominant contexts, I argue, oppre…Read more
  •  7780
    Escaping the Natural Attitude About Gender
    Philosophical Studies 178 (3): 983-1003. 2021.
    Alex Byrne’s article, “Are Women Adult Human Females?”, asks a question that Byrne treats as nearly rhetorical. Byrne’s answer is, ‘clearly, yes’. Moreover, Byrne claims, 'woman' is a biological category that does not admit of any interpretation as (also) a social category. It is important to respond to Byrne’s argument, but mostly because it is paradigmatic of a wider phenomenon. The slogan “women are adult human females” is a political slogan championed by anti-trans activists, appearing on bi…Read more
  •  7069
    He/She/They/Ze
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5. 2018.
    In this paper, we defend two main claims. The first is a moderate claim: we have a negative duty to not use binary gender-specific pronouns he or she to refer to genderqueer individuals. We defend this with an argument by analogy. It was gravely wrong for Mark Latham to refer to Catherine McGregor, a transgender woman, using the pronoun he; we argue that such cases of misgendering are morally analogous to referring to Angel Haze, who identifies as genderqueer, as he or she. The second is a radi…Read more
  •  4989
    Beyond Binary: Genderqueer as Critical Gender Kind
    Philosophers' Imprint 20 (9): 1-23. 2020.
    We want to know what gender is. But metaphysical approaches to this question solely have focused on the binary gender kinds men and women. By overlooking those who identify outside of the binary–the group I call ‘genderqueer’–we are left without tools for understanding these new and quickly growing gender identifications. This metaphysical gap in turn creates a conceptual lacuna that contributes to systematic misunderstanding of genderqueer persons. In this paper, I argue that to better u…Read more
  •  2954
    Cisgender Commonsense and Philosophy's Transgender Trouble
    TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 7 (3). 2020.
    Analytic philosophy has transgender trouble. In this paper, I explore potential explanations for this trouble, focusing on the notion of 'cisgender commonsense' and its place in philosophical methodology.
  •  1849
    'Yep, I'm Gay': Understanding Agential Identity
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6 571-599. 2019.
    What’s important about ‘coming out’? Why do we wear business suits or Star Trek pins? Part of the answer, we think, has to do with what we call agential identity. Social metaphysics has given us tools for understanding what it is to be socially positioned as a member of a particular group and what it means to self-identify with a group. But there is little exploration of the general relationship between self-identity and social position. We take up this exploration, developing an account of agen…Read more
  •  1221
    Content Focused Epistemic Injustice
    Oxford Studies in Epistemology. forthcoming.
    There has been extensive discussion of testimonial epistemic injustice, the phenomenon whereby a speaker’s testimony is rejected due to prejudice regarding who they are. But people also have their testimony rejected or preempted due to prejudice regarding what they communicate. Here, the injustice is content focused. We describe several cases of content focused injustice, and we theoretically interrogate those cases by building up a general framework through which to understand them as a genuine…Read more
  •  1213
    How Much Gender is Too Much Gender?
    In Justin Khoo & Rachel Katharine Sterken (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Social and Political Philosophy of Language, Routledge. forthcoming.
    We live in a world saturated in both racial and gendered divisions. Our focus is on one place where attitudes about these divisions diverge: language. We suspect most everyone would be horrified at the idea of adding race-specific pronouns, honorifics, generic terms, and so on to English. And yet gender-specific terms of the same sort are widely accepted and endorsed. We think this asymmetry cannot withstand scrutiny. We provide three considerations against incorporating additional race-specific…Read more
  •  892
    Moving Beyond Mismatch
    American Journal of Bioethics 19 (2): 60-63. 2019.
    In this peer commentary on Maura Priest's "Transgender Children and the Right to Transition: Medical Ethics When Parents Mean Well but Cause Harm", I argue against the "mismatch" model of trans identity. On this model, which is prevalent in institutional and medical contexts, to be trans is to have one's gender identity "mismatch" with one's sexed body.
  •  372
    What Taylor Swift and Beyoncé Teach Us About Sex and Causes
    with Issa Kohler-Hausmann and Elise Sugarman
    University of Pennsylvania Law Review 169 (1): 1-12. 2020.
    In the consolidated cases Altitude Express v. Zarda, Bostock v. Clayton County, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, the Supreme Court will decide whether or not Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Although the parties disagree as to the appropriate formulation of a but-for test to determine whether or not there was a discriminatory outcome, all parties do agree to the use of such a test, which asks “whether the evidence shows ‘treat…Read more
  •  141
    Beyond Binary: Genderqueer as Critical Gender Kind [Chinese]
    Philosophers' Imprint 20 (9): 1-23. 2020.
    Chinese translation courtesy of Zhuanxu Xu. We want to know what gender is. But metaphysical approaches to this question solely have focused on the binary gender kinds men and women. By overlooking those who identify outside of the binary–the group I call ‘genderqueer’–we are left without tools for understanding these new and quickly growing gender identifications. This metaphysical gap in turn creates a conceptual lacuna that contributes to systematic misunderstanding of genderqueer persons. I…Read more
  •  62
    Supreme Confusion about Causality at the Supreme Court
    with Issa Kohler-Hausmann
    CUNY Law Review. forthcoming.
    Twice in the 2020 term, in Bostock and Comcast, the Supreme Court doubled down on the reasoning of “but-for causation” to interpret antidiscrimination statutes. According to this reasoning, an outcome is discriminatory because of some status—say, sex or race—just in case the outcome would not have occurred “but-for” the plaintiff’s status. We think this reasoning embeds profound conceptual errors that render the decisions deeply confused. Furthermore, those conceptual errors tend to limit the re…Read more
  •  43
    Unlike gender inequality, racial inequality primarily accumulates across generations. In this article, Dembroff and Payton argue that transracial identification undermines collective reckoning with that injustice.
  •  21
    Chinese translation by Zhuanxu Xu. Analytic philosophy has transgender trouble. In this paper, I explore potential explanations for this trouble, focusing on the notion of 'cisgender commonsense' and its place in philosophical methodology.
  •  21
    Why Be Nonbinary?
    Aeon. 2018.
    In this article, Dembroff argues that the category nonbinary should not be understood in terms of presentation or psychological states, but instead in terms of how its members are politically situated with respect to the binary expectations of Western gender ideology.