Call for Papers: Trans Erotics @ APA Eastern 2020

The Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love invites papers that explore trans erotics fro the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division meeting in Philadelphia, January 8-11 2020.


In his 2011 poem, “How to Make Love to a Trans Person“, Gabe Moses provides an evocative description of coding, learning, loving, and pleasuring that challenge pre-existing notions of arousal, attraction, and being with through an account of the body. 


Bodies have been learning each other forever.
It’s what bodies do.
But we could never forget how to use our hearts
Even if we tried.
That’s the important part.
Don’t worry about the bodies.
They’ve got this. 


In her 2014 essay “When Selves Have Sex: What the Phenomenology of Trans Sexuality Can Teach About Sexual Orientation” Dr. Bettcher offers an account “erotic structuralism”.  This account makes the case for an eroticized self within an “interactional account” of desire and distinguishes between attraction and arousal.  For Bettcher, a consequence of this is a “blurring” of the gender identity / sexual orientation distinction for there is a “core gender-inflected erotic self in addition to a persistent attraction to a type of gendered persons” (618).  Bodies figure it out in space and time with other bodies. 


Both thinkers present both different modes of exploring trans erotics and accounts of being with others in erotic encounters.  At times in tension with each other, these accounts invite us to seriously, ethically, generously, and lovingly trouble binaries of bodies, pleasures, intimacies, and notions of the self. 


SPSL takes quite seriously Dr. Bettcher’s reminder to us that we’re talking about people—people who are in the room, people trying (and succeeding) to philosophize themselves” not things.  And so we invite papers that carefully and care-fully take up trans erotics. 


We invite submissions that include but are not limited to papers that: 

Engage with the ethics described in Moses’ poem. 

  • What ethical preconditions—or responsibility to ourselves and others (and ourselves with others)—might be required in the recoding that Moses offers? 

Take up the claims made in Dr. Bettcher’s essay 

  • Do we have a “core gender-inflected erotic self”? 

  • Is Bettcher using a Lordean account of the erotic in her piece? 

Discuss the relationship (either tensions, commonalities, or both) between the erotics of other precaritized bodies. 


We specifically invite work from trans thinkers (particularly trans people of colour). 

Papers should be no more than 3000 words long. 

Full paper submissions should be sent to:; Deadline August 2, 2019.

For more information on the APA Eastern, visit:

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