Owen Strachan: Do Feelings Determine Identity?

Can you change your identity?

We hear that sort of argument a lot today … that we can or that we need to change ourselves to fit our true identity. In Michigan recently, Joseph Gobrick was hauled into court for child pornography—as he was in possession of numerous images of child porn on his computer.

His argument fits our age: he contended in court that though he is a 45-year-old man, he is actually an 8-year-old girl. He feels like he is a little girl, so he must be.

Thankfully, Gobrick’s defense failed. He was found guilty for child pornography and sentenced to prison. But we should take note: though the line held here, this line is a precarious one. Postmodernity is not stable.

This court case calls us to say, in public: your feelings don’t determine your identity.

45-year-old men are not 8-year-old girls, and never will be.