Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Christie Hartley

Second Advisor

Dan Wieskopf


Katharine Jenkins argues that Talia Bettcher’s Sincere Self-Identity or Existential account of gender identity cannot ground trans rights. Jenkins argues that Bettcher’s account reduces to the mere act of claiming a gender identity. Thus, Bettcher’s account fails to ground trans rights for two reasons: (1) it cannot show why gender identity ought to be respected, and (2) it cannot explain why a trans person would have a need for access to transition-related healthcare. I argue that Bettcher’s account is not reducible to the mere act of claiming a gender identity. Bettcher develops an account of gender identity that captures a person’s identity broadly. She argues that existential accounts of gender identity include all of a person’s beliefs (true or false), commitments, attitudes, and values. Thus, Jenkins’ misunderstanding of Bettcher’s account of gender identity. I then argue that Bettcher’s account when correctly understood does have the resources to ground trans rights.


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