Trans Studies

Trans Studies: The Challenge to Hetero/Homo Normativities

YOLANDA MARTÍNEZ-SAN MIGUEL
SARAH TOBIAS
Copyright Date: 2016
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 270
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt19z38xf
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  • Book Info
    Trans Studies
    Book Description:

    From Caitlyn Jenner to Laverne Cox, transgender people have rapidly gained public visibility, contesting many basic assumptions about what gender and embodiment mean. The vibrant discipline of Trans Studies explores such challenges in depth, building on the insights of queer and feminist theory to raise provocative questions about the relationships among gender, sexuality, and accepted social norms.

    Trans Studiesis an interdisciplinary essay collection, bringing together leading experts in this burgeoning field and offering insights about how transgender activism and scholarship might transform scholarship and public policy. Taking an intersectional approach, this theoretically sophisticated book deeply grounded in real-world concerns bridges the gaps between activism and academia by offering examples of cutting-edge activism, research, and pedagogy.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-7643-5
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science, Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Thinking beyond Hetero/Homo Normativities
    (pp. 1-18)
    YOLANDA MARTÍNEZ-SAN MIGUEL and SARAH TOBIAS

    Recent events reveal the fundamental redefinition of gender that is taking place in many mainstream media and cultural venues in the United States. For example, on February 13, 2014, social media giant Facebook announced a new menu of gender identities as one of several initiatives related to its tenth-anniversary celebration. The list includes around fifty-one possible options, explicitly contesting binary notions of gender, and recognizing instead that gender identity is much more fluid and complex (Evans 2014). Also in February 2014, Janet Mock publishedRedefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, a narration of her...

  5. PART I: GENDER BOUNDARIES WITHIN EDUCATIONAL SPACES
    • 1 CREATING A GENDER-INCLUSIVE CAMPUS
      (pp. 21-32)
      GENNY BEEMYN and SUSAN R. RANKIN

      Although some trans-spectrum students today have a generally positive campus experience, many others attend colleges and universities that continue to force them to run a gender gantlet daily.¹ They wake in their residence hall to a roommate not of their choosing, as they cannot be housed in keeping with their gender identity, or they are in a single room, having paid more to avoid such a situation. Unless they have a shower in their rooms, they are forced to use a group facility that does not reflect their gender identity, making them vulnerable to being “outed” and subsequently harassed. If...

    • 2 TRANSGENDERING THE ACADEMY: Ensuring Transgender Inclusion in Higher Education
      (pp. 33-44)
      PAULINE PARK

      As more and more transgendered and gender-variant people seek to participate fully in the life of their institutions as faculty members, staff, and students at colleges and universities across the United States, the issue of transgender inclusion has become increasingly important in higher education, sparking lively and often heated discussion about everything from curriculum to faculty hiring to gender-neutral student housing to restroom construction on campus.¹ My objective here is to provide a comprehensive assessment of the issues that arise when institutions of higher education attempt to address the impediments to the full participation of transgendered students, faculty, and staff...

  6. PART II: TRANS IMAGINARIES
    • 3 “I’LL CALL HIM MAHOOD INSTEAD, I PREFER THAT, I’M QUEER”: Samuel Beckett’s Spatial Aesthetic of Name Change
      (pp. 47-64)
      LUCAS CRAWFORD

      The modernist writer Samuel Beckett has never been discussed in relation to transgender experience, even though his notoriously cryptic textThe Unnamable—by performing an ambiguous series of name changes—lands so closely to a ubiquitous event of contemporary transgender life. This text, the third portion of what is often called Beckett’s first trilogy, appeared in English in 1958. It is a monologue of sorts that does not meet any realist expectations of plot, character, or setting; for that reason, it very effectively resists being summarized. In short, the voice of the text continues speaking mercilessly even when it would...

    • 4 EXCRUCIATING IMPROBABILITY AND THE TRANSGENDER JAMAICAN
      (pp. 65-82)
      KEJA VALENS

      Colonialism and its legacies constitute the Caribbean as we know it and continue to set the terms through which the Caribbean subject is understood to exist and to have a race, nationality, gender, and sexuality. Although mestizaje, créolité, hybridity, and other Caribbean literary and critical movements underscore the creative as well as the destructive forces of colonialism, Caribbean literature and theory tend still to imagine the colonial period and its legacy as oppressive, in contrast to a liberated and liberating postcolonial present or future.¹ For those who object to the gender binary that underwrites the heteronormative patriarchy on which colonialism...

    • 5 TRANSCODING THE TRANSNATIONAL DIGITAL ECONOMY
      (pp. 83-100)
      JIAN CHEN

      This chapter focuses on the trans embodied, transnational digital media of Cheang Shu Lea. For more than thirty years, Taiwan-born queer digital nomad Cheang has produced new media art that highlights and plays with the boundaries of gender, racial ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, cultural genre, and technological medium.¹ In particular I look at her post-porn digital filmI.K.U.(2000), which rips off Ridley Scott’s analog filmBlade Runner(1982), andI.K.U.’s sequelUKI(2009–2012), a live video performance and online game.² These coupled pieces, along with Cheang’s other work in the 2000s, make visible the digital technologies that had linked...

  7. PART III: CROSSING BORDERS/CROSSING GENDER
    • 6 WHEN THINGS DON’T ADD UP: Transgender Bodies and the Mobile Borders of Biometrics
      (pp. 103-112)
      TOBY BEAUCHAMP

      In November 2001, the U.S. Congress held a hearing on “Biometric Identifiers and the Modern Face of Terror,” in which Senator Diane Feinstein claimed that the individuals who carried out the airline hijackings of September 11, 2001 were able to do so because “we could not identify them” (U.S. Congress 2001, 36). Throughout the hearing, legislators and industry experts alike singled out biometrics as a crucial tool in identifying terrorists as well as in regulating immigration. Unlike identification documents that might be falsi-fied or exchanged between different bodies, biometrics link identity to unique aspects of the individual physical body—such...

    • 7 CONNECTING THE DOTS: National Security, the Crime-Migration Nexus, and Trans Women’s Survival
      (pp. 113-121)
      NORA BUTLER BURKE

      In late January 2012, news rapidly spread through social media and among trans activists in Canada claiming that a recent amendment to federal flight regulations would ban all trans people from boarding a plane within Canada if they did not have identification documents that corresponded to their gender appearance, or if there were major discrepancies between different IDs (Gollom and Engelhardt 2012; Raj 2012). Article 5.2 (1) of the Identity Screening Regulations specified that “An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if . . .the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he...

    • 8 AFFECTIVE VULNERABILITY AND TRANSGENDER EXCEPTIONALISM: Norma Ureiro in Transgression
      (pp. 122-138)
      AREN Z. AIZURA

      In December 2012 the Obama administration released a memo called “US Leadership to Advance Equality for LGBT People Abroad.” The memo offers practical strategies to build on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s notorious speech on LGBT rights at the United Nations in 2011; she verbally admonished nations in which homosexuality is a crime and framed the United States as at the forefront of efforts to combat homophobia. Clinton’s speech coincided with a new U.S. government strategy “dedicated to combating LGBT human rights abuses abroad.” The memo itself detailed a range of initiatives, including foreign aid targeted at LGBT communities internationally....

  8. PART IV: TRANS ACTIVISM AND POLICY
    • 9 THE T IN LGBTQ: How Do Trans Activists Perceive Alliances within LGBT and Queer Movements in Québec (Canada)?
      (pp. 141-153)
      MICKAEL CHACHA ENRIQUEZ

      In Québec, trans activists have recently won the ability to change their gender designation on identity documents without receiving sex reassignment surgery. It is largely by entering into alliances with other social movements that the trans movement obtained recognition from the provincial government, and this will hopefully succeed in reducing the control of medical and judicial institutions on trans bodies. The objective of the present chapter is to identify the dynamics of alliance building between trans activism and LGBQ activist movements in Québec, based on twelve qualitative interviews of trans militants. I will first briefly explore the literature on the...

    • 10 TRANSLATINA IS ABOUT THE JOURNEY: A Dialogue on Social Justice for Transgender Latinas in San Francisco
      (pp. 154-171)
      ALEXANDRA RODRÍGUEZ DE RUÍZ and MARCIA OCHOA

      This chapter is a conversation between the authors held in July 2013 to memorialize the founding and first five years of El/La Para Translatinas, a social justice and HIV prevention program for transgender Latinas (translatinas) based in the Mission District of San Francisco. Alexandra worked as program coordinator at El/La from 2006 until 2011 and is currently an activist and educator in Mexico City. Marcia, currently a member of El/La’s advisory board, served in the volunteer position as director of program and evaluation from 2006 through 2013 and before that time was a member of the advisory board of Proyecto...

    • 11 LGB WITHIN THE T: Sexual Orientation in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey and Implications for Public Policy
      (pp. 172-188)
      JODY L. HERMAN

      The National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) revealed that trans people face alarming levels of discrimination and experience a host of negative outcomes, such as in health and well-being (Grant et al. 2011). The NTDS focused on discrimination based on anti-trans bias, which is bias against a person or group of people based on gender identity, gender expression, or trans status. Yet, some trans people may experience discrimination based on sexual orientation as well. As one NTDS respondent noted, “It is hard for me to distinguish between when I was discriminated against for being gay and when I was discriminated against...

  9. PART V: TRANSFORMING DISCIPLINES AND PEDAGOGY
    • 12 ADVENTURES IN TRANS BIOPOLITICS: A Comparison between Public Health and Critical Academic Research Praxes
      (pp. 191-214)
      SEL J. HWAHNG

      When I was asked to present at the Trans Politics Conference that took place at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on April 18–19, 2013, I was faced with an interesting challenge. I had correctly assumed that the audience for this conference would probably be informed by critical humanities and social scientific fields, and that they may have known very little about public health research and praxis. Although I have a bachelor’s degree in biology and had been involved in some biomedical and clinical research during and right after my undergraduate education, much of my graduate school training...

    • 13 STICK FIGURES AND LITTLE BITS: Toward a Nonbinary Pedagogy
      (pp. 215-229)
      A. FINN ENKE

      In 2009 Etonde Awaah, a student in my LGBT Studies Capstone seminar, made a video exploring the relationship between the feminist theory that students learn in class and the “on the ground” commitment to challenging the structures in our built environment that reinforce binary gender normativity and sexist oppressions. Based on interviews with students, faculty, and staff, the film examined the specific terrain of gender-segregated bathrooms and the lack of facilities available for people who may not be comfortable or welcome in gender-designated bathrooms. Awaah’s project included screening the video trailer at a department meeting so that the identified problem...

  10. CONCLUSION: TRANS FANTASIZING: From Social Media to Collective Imagination
    (pp. 230-242)
    YOLANDA MARTÍNEZ-SAN MIGUEL and SARAH TOBIAS

    Our introduction to this anthology opened with an enumeration of some significant events that relate or resignify how Trans Studies and identities are conceived in U.S. popular culture. A more recent development allows us to explore the links between gender and sexuality. On December 4, 2014, Neda Ulaby wrote a short article for National Public Radio’s program All Tech Considered entitled “Sapiosexual Seeks Same: A New Lexicon Enters Online Dating Mainstream.” In this article Ulaby announces that the online dating site OkCupid has added a new lexicon to enable users to provide more fluid descriptions of their sexual and gender...

  11. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 243-248)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 249-256)