TEDxJacksonville: Gender Bound

April 5, 2015 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Judi Herring on Gender Bound.

Since time immemorial, humans have been labeled as either male or female, but in this engrossing Talk, urologic surgeon Dr. Judi Herring argues that the reality of gender is far more complex. Each year, one in 2,000 babies are born with ambiguous genitalia. The common prescription for such “intersex” children is a lengthy and painful process of surgical correction that Herring believes is both cruel and arbitrary.

Rejecting the present conception of gender as a value reduced to a single variable–the presence or absence of a penis—Herring calls us to move beyond gender labels that too often serve as the primary reference point for how we relate to one another. Rather than enforce conformity to an either/or standard, we must embrace the reality of gender diversity. In reality, notes Herring, “There are as many genders as there are people on the planet.”

Judi Herring’s journey into the complexity of gender began in the early 1990s in a Baltimore hospital room where a child waited for an answer. As a urologic surgeon in training, Judi would help the child conform to a cultural mandate and give the child’s parents a response to the time-honored question: boy or girl? The experience illuminated a broader truth that Judi carried forward while publicly navigating a more accessible unknowing pathway. Worldwide enthusiasm for challenging healthy eating dogma fuels Judi’s confidence that the world is ready to explore gender in the context of unknowing.

This talk comes from TEDxJacksonville's 2014 conference. Connect with TEDxJacksonville here.