Knowledge and Skills Building Workshops
My clinical work with trans people in psychotherapy has led me to theorize that core gender is an aspect of consciousness. There are no cases in the medical literature of a person’s gender identity changing as the result of a brain injury or lesion. This directed me towards a theory of gender as qualia as opposed to an aspect of personality. The feeling of gender incongruence is not only based on visual incongruence but interoceptive sensations and one’s predictions regarding those sensations. The free energy principle will be used to explain why and how transgender people feel and experience their gender differently than cisgendered people through predictive coding. Using the scaffolding of Damasio’s formulation of consciousness, I will demonstrate how gender is a foundational element of consciousness primarily integrated through the insula. Working from a frame of the psychophysical nature of gender through interdisciplinary theorists from philosophy, psychoanalysis, consciousness studies, and neuroscience such as Damasio, Craig, Edelman, Friston, Winnicott and Tsakiris.