BLAS RADI - Keynote


"'Nothing About Us Without Us'
& Other Misunderstood Slogans

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Keynote speaker from a GLOBAL SOUTH perspective.

“Nothing about us without us” is a motto that social movement activists use to defend the idea that no policy should be pursued without the full and direct participation of members of all groups who will be effected by it. The slogan is based on the conviction that people know what is best for them, but in Trans* Studies and Politics it has tended to be misunderstood. The same has happened with other political slogans, which seem to have moved away from the ideals that gave rise to them. I will look into the role of trans* experts and the difficulties they face.

Blas Radi is a philosophy professor at the University of Buenos Aires, where he teaches theory of knowledge and feminist philosophy. His work combines philosophical research with human rights activism, particularly in relation to the trans* community, and during the last 15 years he has been involved in trans* rights advocacy. He is one of the founders and the co-coordinator of the Independent Chair of Trans* Studies at the School of Philosophy and Literature (UBA) and is currently pursuing his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires, with a doctoral scholarship awarded by CONICET (National Scientific and Technical Research Council).



"Balancing Acts:
Making Transgender Activism Flexible and Inclusive"

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Over the last century, social justice activism has played a crucial role in challenging prejudice and promoting equity for women, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, and other marginalized groups. While most of us profess support for these past accomplishments, we may nevertheless resist newer expressions of social justice activism, or dismiss them as examples of “call-out culture,” “identity politics,” or “political correctness” run amok. In this talk, author and activist Julia Serano addresses this discrepancy. Julia has written (particularly in her books Excluded and Outspoken) about how social justice movements sometimes become too exclusive, inflexible, or counterproductive -- tendencies that likely contribute to resistance toward contemporary activism, and for which Julia has suggested potential remedies. Julia also demonstrates how the general public's lack of awareness about how prejudice and discrimination actually work, and how activists can effectively counter them, is a major factor driving this resistance. Generating more light than heat, and remaining accessible to activists and non-activists alike, Julia will discuss the purpose of social justice activism and its limitations.


Julia Serano is an Oakland, California-based writer, spoken word performer, musician, biologist, and activist. She is best known for her 2007 book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, which readers of Ms. Magazine ranked #16 on their list of the “100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time.” Her other books include 2013’s Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive(which was a finalist for the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction) and 2016’s Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism (which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction). Julia’s other writings have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, and in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, TIME, Salon, The Daily Beast, AlterNet, Out, and Ms. Julia’s life experiences as a trans woman, and her understanding of biology (she has a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Columbia University, and spent seventeen years as a researcher at UC Berkeley in the fields of genetics, evolution and developmental biology), gives her a unique perspective on gender and sexuality, and her writings have been used as teaching materials in colleges across North America. Julia additionally performs noise-pop music under the moniker *soft vowel sounds*, and her first foray into fiction—99 Erics: a Kat Cataclysm faux novel, will be published this Fall. Information about her various creative endeavors can be found at juliaserano.com.

Youth & Elders Panels TBA