Gender Doesn't Matter (Sun) Panel

Jesse Bering (chair), Raewyn Connell, Cordelia Fine & Elizabeth Riley

Suddenly it’s not queer to hear people talking about 'gender fluidity’, ‘gender transition’ or a spectrum of gender identity – did the world conversation decide gender no longer matters? And if the biological constraints of gender have been loosened, how do we deal with enduring gender-based social inequality and injustice?


Jesse Bering is an award-winning science writer. His "Bering in Mind" column at Scientific American was a 2010 Webby Award Honoree. Bering's first book, The Belief Instinct (2011), was included on the American Library Association's Top 25 Books of the Year. This was followed by a collection of essays - the critically acclaimed Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? (2012), and Perv (2013), a New York Times Editor's Choice. All three books have been translated into many different languages. An expert in psychology and religion, he began his career at the University of Arkansas, as an Assistant Professor of Psychology from 2002-2006. He then served as the Director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at the Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he was a Reader in the School of History and Anthropology until 2011. Presently, he is Associate Professor of Science Communication at the University of Otago, New Zealand. His next book, on the science of suicidology, will be released in 2017.


Raewyn Connell is one of Australia's leading social scientists. She is best known internationally as a sociologist of gender and a pioneer of research on masculinities and best known in Australia for work on class inequality and social justice in education. She’s author or co-author of 23 books including Gender In World Perspective, Southern Theory, Masculinities, Schools & Social Justice, Gender & Power, Making the Difference, and Ruling Class Ruling Culture. Her work has been translated into 18 languages. She is a long-term participant in the labour movement and peace movement, and is now Professor Emerita at the University of Sydney, and a Life Member of the NTEU.


Cordelia Fine is an Associate Professor at Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne. Her second popular science book, Delusions of Gender: The Real Science of Sex Differences was described as “a welcome corrective” (Nature), ”carefully researched and reasoned" (Science) and “required reading for every neurobiology student, if not every human being.” (PLoS Biology). It was short-listed for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Non-Fiction, the Best Book of Ideas Prize (UK), the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for Literature (UK) and the international cross-genre Warwick Prize (2013), and the New York Times advised readers to "read this book". Cordelia also writes regularly for the popular press, including pieces in The Monthly, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian and Financial Times, and her latest book, Testosterone Rex, will be published in early 2017.

Elizabeth Anne Riley, PhD is a Sydney-based counsellor, academic & clinical supervisor specialising in gender diversity. Elizabeth has extensive experience working with gender diverse clients and has a PhD titled ‘The needs of gender variant children and their parents’ Elizabeth also has a Masters in Counselling and provides gender specific support and counselling for children, youth & their families. Elizabeth delivers professional development in gender diversity for schools, clinicians and other service providers and has 10 publications in the area of gender identity. As an advocate for the trans community Elizabeth appears for Mardis Gras interviewing transgender trailblazers, including  Chaz Bono and Catherine MacGregor. Elizabeth’s media presence includes Insight, 60 Minutes, A Current Affair, The Project, ABC’s 7.30, Radio National & JJJ.

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