Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies

A publication of the Center for Applied Transgender Studies

Volume 1, Issue 3-4

Cover of Current Issue

Volume 1, Issue 3-4

Winter 2022

ISSN 2769-2124

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Trans Research Ethics: Challenges and Recommendations for Change

Zack Marshall , Chris Kaposy , Fern Brunger , Vivian Welch

The field of research that includes transgender, nonbinary, and gender diverse (collectively, trans) people is expanding. In early research, trans people were often the objects of study. As trans studies evolves, community members are turning a critical eye to research practices. In this paper we join others in presenting a call for changes at each stage of the research process. Grounded in specific examples, nine core challenges are identified. Related to research focus and study design there are problems linked to: 1) centering a cisnormative world view, 2) conducting research not identified as a priority by trans communities, and 3) lack of accountability in research design decisions. Regarding data collection and analysis, concerns include: 4) reinforcing gender binaries, 5) collapsing gender and sexual diversity, and 6) misrepresenting trans experiences through data manipulation. In terms of reporting and publishing practices, challenges are identified related to: 7) misgendering, 8) informational erasure in reporting research results, and 9) under-attention to complex informed consent dynamics. Linking the trans research ethics literature with concrete documentation of the ways researchers discuss and represent trans people and their personal information in peer-reviewed publications, this manuscript contributes to new dialogues about improving research processes with communities invested in accountability.

Original Article

Grieving the Transgender (Assumed-Cisgender) Child: What Gendered Mourning Among Midwestern Parents Tells Us About Familial Cisnormativity and Creating Livable Trans Futures

Mel Constantine Miseo

This article examines how feelings of loss and grief commonly experienced by parents of transgender youth, which I call gendered mourning, give insight into the cisnormative inner workings of family gender systems. Examination into the experience of gendered mourning illuminates the ways in which cisnormativity frames ideas of familial futurity, setting parents up for feelings of loss. Ethnographic fieldwork at a support group for parents of transgender youth in a Midwestern state in the United States and in-depth interviews with attendees of the support group reveal that gendered mourning primarily involves feelings about a child’s changing name and body, the trans child existing in a hostile world, and fears of losing a child through suicide. Additionally, this study finds that gendered mourning has generative capabilities for informing parental work of fostering trans livability. This research positions cisnormativity, acting as a collective harm to us all, as the producer of loss instead of the transgender child.

Original Article

(De)Transphobia: Examining the Socio-Politically Driven Gender Minority Stressors Experienced by People Who Detransitioned

Kinnon R. MacKinnon , W. Ariel Gould , Florence Ashley , Gabriel Enxuga , Hannah Kia , Lori E. Ross

Existing research on gender minority stress theory largely presumes that transgender identity is a categorically immutable characteristic often tied to a unidirectional gender transition, neglecting to consider individuals whose gender identity/expression and embodiment desires change over time. Applying constructivist grounded theory, this article empirically develops the concept of detransphobia from the distal and proximal gender minority stressors, stigma, and discrimination experienced by individuals who shifted or reversed their gender transition. Between October 2021 and January 2022, 28 participants completed semi-structured, one-on-one virtual interviews regarding their experiences of detransition/retransition and their social support needs. Interviews ranged between 50–90 minutes and they were transcribed and analyzed following an iterative, multi-pronged coding process to thematically conceptualize detransphobia. Fifty-two percent of the sample reported three or more past gender identities, 61% currently identified as nonbinary, and 100% identified along the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Participants’ experiences of multiple gender transitions, and their embodiment following detransition, rendered them vulnerable to unique gender minority stressors for inhabiting an unintelligible category—detrans. Detransphobia was found to be rooted in cisnormativity and transnormativity, together with socio-politically-located anti-transgender stereotypes related to the process and the outcomes of detransitioning. Detransphobia compounds gender minority stressors and social exclusion in those who shift or reject their past transgender identity through the process of detransition.

Original Article

The Challenges of Trans Public Policy in Argentina and Germany: A Conversation Between Nyke Slawik and Alba Rueda

Patricio Simonetto , Janek Scholz

The Argentinian Gender Identity Law was approved in 2012. On the occasion of its tenth anniversary and in the wake of a German self-determination law, two pioneer trans activists engaged in policymaking—Alba Rueda of Argentina and Nyke Slawik of Germany—discuss the challenges of developing trans-supportive policies in Latin America and Europe. Besides the differences between the two countries and the complexities of language and political–cultural translation, the conversation showcases some of the various ways in which scholarship, policymaking, and activism can create critical spaces of conversation to foster new synergies against exclusionary and reactionary trends, and to build a more democratic and equal future for everyone. The conversation is preceded by a short scholarly introduction that presents the theoretical context for the conversation and introduces the discussants. The article closes with a conclusion that unpacks the general implications of the conversation for scholars and advocates working in Germany, Argentina, and beyond.

Original Article