---- by Victoria Grace
  Baudrillard frequently invokes the figure of the transsexual, of transsexuality, along with the transeconomic, the transpolitical and the transaesthetic, as particular manifestations of a generalised state of 'trans'. 'Trans' means movement between, a confusion of boundaries, of being neither here nor there, a contagion across states; this loss of specificity he associates with the fractal stage of value when there is no reference point for value at all. Possibly there is no longer any value at all. With this loss of reference there is also a loss of relationality; instead of reproduction in the spheres of sex, art, politics, etc. occurring through any relational encounter in which another form is produced through a simultaneous cancelling out, there is a shift into a self-replicating logic that Baudrillard argues is a metastatic mode of self-reproduction. Transsexuality is of this order.
  The state of 'trans' as a contagion, or promiscuity across terms comes to mean that everything is sexual, everything is political, everything is aesthetic. Nothing is 'not'; what is, is all in the positive. This means that sex becomes generalised, and can effectively be modelled and signified in all sorts of ways. This commutability of the terms of sex is more to do with sexual indifference than sexual difference. The flotation of the signs of sex mean the sexual body has been assigned an artificial fate of transsexuality. In other words, whether we choose to change the signs of sex or not, it is the mere fact that sex is now constituted through commutable signs that makes us transsexual. We are now all transsexuals, therefore (SC).
  In this way, Baudrillard's references to transsexuality are less those partaking of a medicalised discourse (premised on a sex and gender distinction) of the individual who feels that their gender orientation is trapped within the wrongly sexed body, but is rather more to do with the transsexual as s/he who is attracted to playing with the signs of sex, with lack of differentiation, with the simulation of difference. Transsexuality is thus underpinned by artifice (TE), which Baudrillard associates with the state of sexual indifference rather than sexual difference. This sexual indifference emerges with the loss of sexual otherness, as an ambiguity of the sexes supersedes the ambivalence of sex. Where playing with the signs of sexual difference is about jouissance, playing with the signs of sexual indifference is about artifice:
  After the orgy [of liberation], then, a masked ball. After the demise of desire, a pell-mell diffusion of erotic simulacra in every guise, of transsexual kitsch in all its glory. A postmodern pornography, if you will, where sexuality is lost in the theatrical excess of its ambiguity. (TE, 22)
  Long after any real alterity of the sexes has disappeared, this selfreplicating manipulation of signs of an indifferent and ambiguous sex continues its empty kind of rehearsal. It's as if sex has been resolved into its 'part objects' or 'fractal elements'.
  The transsexual is in this sense the subject become fully self-identical; s/he has no double, no other, no shadow. Inscribed fully within the order of a virtualised identity, '[h]e [sic] no longer differs from himself, and is, therefore, indifferent to himself' (IE, 108). And hence indifferent to others similarly encapsulated within their own self-identical, undivided, unseducing and unseducible existence. 'It is my right to be a man or a woman!' As for desire, Baudrillard is clear, with an implied reference to Deleuze, that the era of the transsexual (and transpolitical, transaesthetic) is one in which 'desiring machines become little spectacle machines, then quite simply bachelor machines, before trailing off into the countdown of the species' (VI, 38). So what about 'the end'? Precisely, '"our destiny is the end of the end"' (BL, 163); to be living in the functionality of a 'trans' state is a kind of tragedy marking a passing beyond our own finitude as human beings. Consequentially, 'it would no longer even be possible to live or confront our own end' (BL, 163).
  Is it possible that the site of transsexuality could rather be seductive in its play of the interchangeable signs of sexual (in)difference? Baudrillard certainly notes that by virtue of the transsexual fate of the sexual body, transsexuality becomes 'the site of seduction' (SC, 9), a site, however, that is one of artifice rather than jouissance. The figure of the transsexual is, in Baudrillard's writing, not at all the radical and emancipatory form that deconstructs the m/f binary. Rather, as he writes in Cool Memories (1990b [1987c]) 'Transsexuality is not seductive, it is simply disturbing' (CM, 76).
   § seduction
   § sex / gender
   § the end
   § transpolitics

The Baudrillard dictionary. . 2015.

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