fbpx Why do people defend the gender binary? With Dr. Thekla Morgenroth, Assistant Professor, Purdue University | Harvard Kennedy School

Date and Location

April 3, 2023
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EST



​In the Western world, gender has traditionally been viewed as binary and as following directly from biological sex. This view is slowly changing among both experts and the general public, a change that has been met with strong opposition. In this talk, Dr. Morgenroth investigates why people show this opposition. They argue that the gender binary fulfills a range of psychological needs and that any challenges to the gender binary can therefore lead to threat. However, their data shows that the threat voiced by opponents is not necessarily the threat that actually drives opposition, highlighting the importance of examining the underlying psychological mechanisms of such reactions.

Dr. Thekla Morgenroth is an assistant professor of social psychology at Purdue University. Their research examines why and how people maintain social categories and hierarchies with a particular focus on the gender/sex binary and its consequences for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Some of their current projects include research on opposition to policies and practices that challenge the gender/sex binary, the psychology of different feminist ideologies, and moral arguments made in the context of controlling women’s bodies. Outside of work, Dr. Thekla Morgenroth is a big fan of cats (especially their cat Kartoffel), karaoke, and drag.

Persons with disabilities who would like to request accommodations or have questions about physical access may contact Laura Botera at laura_botera@hks.harvard.edu or 617-384-7575 in advance of the program or visit.​

Speakers and Presenters

Dr. Thekla Morgenroth, Assistant Professor, Purdue University


Additional Organizers

HKS LGBTQ+ Caucus; Harvard LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff (QERG)​