August 2, 2021

Paul B. Preciado, beyond gender

By Zineb Dryef

Posted today at 03:01, updated at 03:06

October 2020. On the stage of an auditorium at the Center Pompidou, dressed in black, with a discreet beard and a gentle gaze, the philosopher Paul B. Preciado announces: “The revolution is not tomorrow. We are in a revolutionary present. “ The room is full, the event broadcast on the Internet from the Parisian museum where this seminar is taking place. Its purpose? Telling a new “history of sexuality”, forty-five years after the publication of the first volume of the work-sum of Michel Foucault. Four days of discussions, performances and dance led by artists, actresses (Nadège Beausson-Diagne and Adèle Haenel), singers (Mélissa Laveaux and Yseult) and the writer Virginie Despentes.

A “Anti-fascist, transfeminist and anti-racist cluster”, announces Paul B. Preciado. The interventions – transcribed in inclusive writing and translated into sign language – went smoothly. Most often, in the debates, everyone agreed. In the room, young people, blacks, whites, trans people, heterosexuals, homosexuals. Like a snapshot of this intersectional left, at the crossroads of struggles, sometimes ironically described as “Left woke” – “awake”. A movement that bristles some and of which Paul B. Preciado, 50, has become one of the essential figures.

Saturday June 26, many will meet at the Pride March in Paris. He will be present, happy to “To connect to this collective energy”. A less festive event than the previous editions – given the health context – but more « inclusive » than ever, the organizers promise: lesbians and trans people are more and more numerous and visible in recent years in the ranks of a procession once led by gay activists.

A small revolution in which the Spanish philosopher, considered one of the most important contemporary thinkers in gender studies, is one of the actors, he the ardent defender of “transfeminism”, which he defines as follows: “A non-essentialist political project, a radically broadened feminism, planetary, anti-colonial and ecological. “

France, Paris, May 19, 2021, Paul B. Preciado, at home.

The new era of inclusion

This vision of the world, which does not want to exclude anyone, neither non-white people, nor lesbians, nor trans, nor sex workers or the disabled, and of which he is the herald, has long been in the minority, even marginal. It was ignored until the mid-2000s. But, in recent years, the question of gender has become central, as much in the beauty industry as in the audiovisual sector – mainstream productions have credible heroes and heroines and identifiable (Orange is the New Black, Transparent, Mytho…) –, in sport, where athletes claim the right to participate in competitions “Without discrimination based on their gender identity”, and in colleges, where more and more students indicate the pronouns by which they wish to be referred to (he, she, iel).

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