Mathematics is the art of giving the same name to different things.
– Henri Poincaré
… whereas poetry lives through finding different names for the same thing. A whole lot of trouble is stirred up when we assume that our categories are ‘natural’ (substitute: eternal, universal, god-given…). Even the mathematical choices that we make (e.g. the choice of valuation, see this presentation) need not have a ‘natural’ candidate. A particular schema of categories may be significant in the context of a social or political struggle, but once co-opted or undermined, another schema might prove more useful. A toxic argument between some trans rights activisits and some feminists has held up proposed amendments to the UK Gender Recognition Act 2004, including plans to allow humans to choose their legal gender. How would an alternative to the LGBTQI+ schema (or its expanded version, LGBTQQI2SPAA) reframe the debate? Could it reduce polarisation and help anatgonists recognise the ‘real consensus’ that exists on a majority of issues according to David Isaac, departing Chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission?
Venn diagram of Sex and Sexuality by Andrea James / Wikimedia Commons