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Vol. 6 No. 1 (2023): General Issue 2023

The Serious World of Cis: Reflections on Trans Antagonisms, Childhood, and Gender Freedom

December 23, 2023


Drawing on Simone de Beauvoir’s account of “the serious world” and her considerations of childhood in The Ethics of Ambiguity and The Second Sex, this paper considers how the formal and social legislation of cis gender by adults forecloses the moral freedom of children. More specifically, Beauvoir’s account of becoming is read as a claim about how the serious world works. It is argued that her description of becoming in Volume II of The Second Sex shows us how gender is fastened to and enforced in lived experience by adults in order to produce and maintain an unethical social order, namely the serious world of cis. Through this reading of Beauvoir, this article accounts for the moral injury of contemporary anti-trans legislation that targets children and advances preliminary remarks on gender freedom as necessary to moral freedom.