Foucault made me trans. My memory is that it happened while I sat in one of those slightly too small wooden desk/chair combos that fill the classrooms of liberal arts colleges, discussing History of Sexuality, Volume I (though I revisited the syllabus for that fateful course recently and discovered it was actually Herculine Barbin1). It went, in that moment, like this: gender is made up, followed by, I don’t have to do it. A peregrination through taxonomies that somehow felt both liberating and reminiscent of the table of contents of Psychopathia Sexualis followed, culminating, eventually, in a throwing up of hands and an embrace of the refusal that was the term nonbinary—though back then, we used a hyphen: non-binary.2

This path to self-ontologizing was my first sustained encounter with the history of science. My rejection of binary gender and other precise classifications in its...

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