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This paper is a reflection on the rapidly shifting social understandings of gender identity. Using a theoretical framework composed of existentialist thought, cultural critique, empirical research, and post-structuralism, I argue that our understandings of gender identity have shifted towards a model which (following decades of theory) takes lived gender to be malleable and constructed. This has caused a movement away from the centrality of the sexed body in determining gender identity – including transgender identities – which in turn has created unresolved tension regarding what constitutes and validates gender identity as “real” in our narratives of selfhood. This movement away from the solidity of the body includes a movement away from Western mind/body dualism, leaving a gap for a new theoretical order to fill. A discussion of what directions may emerge in new thought about gender identity gesture towards future work in the field.

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