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POSTPONED: 2023-24 Colloquium: “Fuel to My Fire; You Can’t Stop Desire”

May 3 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Royce Hall – Room 306,

UPDATE: This event has been postponed. Stay tuned for the new date.

May 3, 2024 | 4:00PM – 6:00PM
Royce Hall 306


Join us on May 3, 2024 for a colloquium with E. M. Hernandez. The talk will take place in Royce Hall 306 (and via Zoom) from 4:00PM – 6:00PM with a reception to follow.




Fuel to My Fire; You Can’t Stop Desire


Trans existence has been plagued by two different explanations: a natural, “born this way,” necessity and a social, often-thought perverted, choice. These contrasting explanations of necessity and choice create an explanatory false dichotomy and political catch-22. This talk constructs an alternative explanation for why people transition, one that centralizes the role of desire while recognizing the necessity of choice that arises from that desire. Toward this end, I present a moral psychology of desire. An explanation that recognizes the role desire plays, not just in our actions, but in our perception. This desire is made apparent when one perceives the option to transition as a salient possibility for themself. Once this desire is recognized, it functions as what Bernard Williams calls a categorical desire; a desire that partly constitutes one’s ethical identity, making the satisfaction of that desire a matter of ethical necessity. I argue that this explanation eschews the explanatory false dichotomy and evades the political catch-22.


E. M. Hernandez (they/them) is an independent philosopher who explores issues of race and gender through understanding our moral psychology. They have published both academically and popularly on issues of transgender affirmation, language, and experience. They live in Durham, North Carolina with their dog Canela.



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May 3
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Royce Hall – Room 306


UCLA Department of Philosophy