Gender without identity

In this week’s episode, I am delighted to welcome Avgi Sakatopoulou and Ann Pelligrini to the podcast.

Avgi and Ann, psychoanalysts and professors at NYU, tackle one of the most hot-button cultural/health issues raging in the United States of America—how one forms their gender identity—in a new book, GENDER WITHOUT IDENTITY.

The award-winning psychoanalysts challenge the argument widely embraced by rights activists and members of the LGBTQ+ community that gender identity is innate and immutable. Dismissing the notion of core gender identity as simplistic, problematic, and potentially harmful to LGBTQ+ people, the authors propose instead that gender is something we all acquire—through our ongoing development, family history, and life experiences, which sometimes include trauma.

AVGI SAKETOPOULOU (she/her) trained as clinical psychologist in New York after emigrating from Greece and Cyprus, and subsequently completed training as a psychoanalyst at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, where she currently teaches. She also serves on the faculty of the William Alanson White Institute, the Stephen Mitchell Relational Center, and the National Institute for Psychotherapies, where she offers courses on psychosexuality and gender. Her interview on psychoanalysis is on the collection of the Freud Museum in Vienna and she is the 2022 recipient of the Scholarship Award from the American Psychological Association’s Division of Psychoanalysis.  Dr. Saketopoulou is also the author of Sexuality Beyond Consent: Risk, Race, Traumatophilia (NYU Press, 2023).

ANN PELLEGRINI (they/them; she/her) is Professor of Performance Studies & Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, teaching classes on queer theory and psychoanalysis, among other topics, as well as a psychoanalyst in private practice. They are the author/co-author of three previous books, including “You Can Tell Just by Looking” and 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People, co-authored with Michael Bronski and Michael Amico (Beacon Press, 2013), which was a finalist for the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBT Non-Fiction. Dr. Pellegrini has also co-edited two anthologies and is founding co-editor of the “Sexual Cultures” series at NYU Press.

 It has been my honor and pleasure to have Avgi and Ann join me, and I know, my listeners, that you will enjoy the episode.

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About The Host

Marlene McConnell

Marlene McConnell is an author, podcast host, self-love teacher and trauma survivor. She believes that trauma recovery is accessible to everyone, and that it starts with the acknowledgement that something has happened to you combined with a willingness to heal. McConnell’s book and podcast was inspired by the realization that she touched many lives by sharing her story at a support group. Her message of hope not only resonated with the survivors, but also with the family members and friends who supported them at the group sessions. Marlene is also an attorney who holds B.Proc, LLB and LLM law degrees. She loves travel, Pilates, nature, learning new languages, and good food.