Andrea Long Chu
Andrea Long Chu (born 1992) is an American writer who writes on gender, including her own gender transition. One of her pieces of writing was praised as "launching the 'second wave' of trans studies.".
Early life[edit | hide all | hide | edit source]
Chu gave an account of her early life when she was interviewed in 2018 by Michelle Esther O'Brien for the New York City Trans Oral History Project..
She was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where her father was finishing a medical residency at the University of North Carolina and her mother was in graduate school.. A few years later, Chu moved with her family to Asheville, North Carolina. Although she described Asheville as a "very hippy dippy kind of place," Chu said that she was "raised pretty Christian". and described herself as "very goody two shoes.". She attended a small Christian school. Her family belonged to a conservative Presbyterian church. Chu described her childhood as "saturated" with Christianity..
Chu went to Duke University for college, attending from 2010 through 2014.. For three years she was a theatre major and graduated with a degree in literature. During college she did "lots of theatre.".
Chu is currently a doctoral student in comparative literature at New York University.
Career[edit | hide | edit source]
In 2018 Chu published "On Liking Women" in N+1 magazine, an essay in which she considered her own gender transition, discussed her fascination for Valerie Solanas' SCUM Manifesto, and explored how her attitudes about her gender transition evolved in relation to feminist writings she had read. In the essay, Chu wrote, “The truth is I have never been able to differentiate liking women from wanting to be like them.”.
Chu has also published in academic journals, writing about Hegel's remarks on Africa in the Lectures on the Philosophy of World History in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy (2018). and about the impossibility of feminism in differences, a Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies (2019)..
Transgender writer and professor Sandy Stone praised "On Liking Women" for “launching ‘the second wave’ of trans studies.”. Mareile Pfannebecker, in the London School of Economics' Long Read Review, wrote of Chu's "admirable boldness," noting how effectively she "makes the case that the gender experience of trans women like her rests not on identity but on desire.".
Amia Srinivasan criticized "On Liking Women," writing in the London Review of Books that Chu's essay "threatens to bolster the argument made by anti-trans feminists: that trans women equate, and conflate, womanhood with the trappings of traditional femininity, thereby strengthening the hand of patriarchy.". Chu responded to Srinivasan's criticisms in a dialogue with Anastasia Berg that was published in The Point..
Chu also wrote an opinion piece published in The New York Times, "My New Vagina Won't Make Me Happy.". In that piece, written a few days before Chu underwent sex reassignment surgery, she discussed her gender dysphoria, her experiences with hormone therapy, and questioned the widespread belief that gender transitioning will make a trans person feel better. "There are no good outcomes in transition," she wrote. "There are only people, begging to be taken seriously.". The New York Times published two reader letters, dissenting from Chu's essay, under the title "Feeling Better After Gender Transition.".
Kai Cheng Thom, writing in Slate, offered a detailed criticism of "My New Vagina Won't Make Me Happy.". Conceding that Chu is "often brilliant," Thom criticized Chu's New York Times essay as potentially damaging to the cause of trans acceptance, by confirming "unfortunate stereotypes of how people talk and write about trans people.". Thom went on to say:
[I]n her piece, she uses sensational language that feeds the lurid interest in trans people’s bodies at the expense of our rights and privacy. And in arguing for her right to transition no matter her uncertainty at the outcome, she largely ignores what we do know about the outcomes of transition for most people. With an audience the size of the New York Times’, that could do real damage..
"My New Vagina Won't Make Me Happy" also drew attention from conservative publications such as The American Conservative, in which commentator Rod Dreher highlighted Chu's essay as "an icon of our radically disordered culture.". Dreher wrote:
Chu says that the treatments doctors have given him are making him sicker, even making him desire suicide. But if he wants to suffer and to die, then he should have that right. Satisfying desire is the only thing that matters..
Chu wrote about her experiences as a teaching assistant for Avital Ronell at New York University, stating that based on those experiences she believed the accusations of sexual harassment leveled at Ronell by graduate student Nimrod Reitman..
Personal life[edit | hide | edit source]
In her November 2018 interview with the New York City Trans Oral History Project, Chu said that she was in a relationship with a "wonderful cis woman" who was very helpful in preparing for Chu's sex reassignment surgery.. Discussing the relationship, Chu stated, "[h]eterosexuality is so much better when there aren't any men in the equation.".
Sources[edit | hide | edit source]
- Blanchard, Sessi Kuwabara (11 September 2018). "Andrea Long Chu is the Cult Writer Changing Gender Theory". Vice. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- Chu, Andrea Long (Winter 2018a). "On Liking Women". N Plus One (30). Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- Chu, Andrea Long (30 August 2018b). "I Worked with Avital Ronell. I Believe Her Accuser". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- Chu, Andrea Long (24 November 2018c). "Opinion: My New Vagina Won't Make Me Happy". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- Chu, Andrea Long (2018e). "Black Infinity: Slavery and Freedom in Hegel's Africa". The Journal of Speculative Philosophy. 32 (3, Special Issue with the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy): 414–425. JSTOR 10.5325/jspecphil.32.3.0414.
- Chu, Andrea Long Chu; Berg, Anastasia (22 May 2018d). "Wanting Bad Things: Andrea Long Chu responds to Amia Srinivasan". The Point. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- Chu, Andrea Long (1 May 2019). "The Impossibility of Feminism". differences. 30 (1): 63–81. doi:10.1215/10407391-7481232. ISSN 1040-7391.
- Dreher, Rod (24 November 2018). "Andrea Long Chu's Fake Vagina". The American Conservative. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- "Feeling Better After Gender Transition: Readers say bad outcomes are rare". The New York Times. 29 November 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- Srinivasan, Amia (22 March 2018). "Does Anyone Have the Right to Sex?". London Review of Books. 40 (6): 5–10. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- Thom, Kai Cheng (29 November 2018). "The Pain—and Joy—of Transition". Slate. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
[edit | hide | edit source]
- Andrea Long Chu's website
- Andrea Long Chu's Twitter
- Andrea Long Chu's New York University Comparative Literature department CV and research description
- Excerpt from Andrea Long Chu's Females: A Concern