Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies

A publication of the Center for Applied Transgender Studies

Volume 2, Issue 1-2

Cover of Current Issue

Volume 2, Issue 1-2

Summer 2023

ISSN 2769-2124

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The Impact of Sociopolitical Events on Transgender People in the US

L. Zachary DuBois , Jae A. Puckett , Sarah F. Price , Kelsi Kuehn , Brenna Lash , Tian Walker , Natalie R. Holt , Allura L. Ralston , T. Zachary Huit , Makinna Miles , Sage Volk , A. Capannola , Clover Tipton , Debra A. Hope , Richard Mocarski , Robert-Paul Juster

Marginalization experienced by transgender and gender diverse (trans) people exerts negative effects on health. However, few studies examine how trans people respond to events reflecting structural stigma or anti-trans sentiment and the sociopolitical contexts in which they occur. This study examined how trans people (N = 158) residing in Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, and Tennessee responded to specific sociopolitical events and their impacts on health and well-being. Baseline data were collected Fall 2019–Spring 2020, followed by monthly surveys for a year. Current analyses include baseline data and one monthly survey. At baseline, participants reflected on their responses to the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump and a 2018 memo leak with negative implications for trans people’s lives. Participants reported decreased positive experiences (e.g., hopefulness) and increased negative experiences (e.g., fear) after these events. Additionally, 80.2% of participants reported increased hate speech following the 2016 election. During one of the monthly surveys, we found variability in participants’ responses to the 2020 presidential election. Perhaps due to backlash, 31.3% of participants reported increased hate speech, with participants of color reporting additional negative impacts. These findings contextualize experiences of trans people, highlighting how marginalization and exposure to minority stressors are shaped by structural-level stigma.

Original Article

"I Owe No One Any Gender Performance": Transgender and Nonbinary Individuals' Experiences of Gender Dysphoria in Bodily, Social, and Systemic Contexts During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Chloe Goldbach , Douglas Knutson , Satveer Kler , Dannie Klooster , Savannah LeForce , David Cole Milton

Conceptualizations of gender dysphoria have primarily centered only on bodily contexts, but researchers have recently identified the importance of also considering the roles of social and systemic contexts when conceptualizing experiences of gender dysphoria. The present study aimed to expand the understanding of transgender and nonbinary (TNB) individuals’ experiences of gender dysphoria within bodily, social, and systemic contexts, including experiences at two points during and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected from 364 TNB participants at two time points: before (May 2019 to January 2020) and during (May to December 2020) the COVID-19 pandemic. Consensual Qualitative Research-Modified (CQR-M) was used to analyze participant responses. Using CQR-M, 12 domains were identified that captured participant descriptions of factors that contribute to their experiences of gender dysphoria: (a) binary gender norms, (b) language, (c) systems and structural issues, (d) gender congruence, (e) safety, (f) community exclusion, (g) transition care, (h) close relationships, (i) multiple marginalization, (j) pandemic detriments, (k) pandemic benefits, and (l) buffers against experiencing gender dysphoria. The results of the present study suggest that social and systemic factors, in addition to bodily factors, play a significant role in the experiences of gender dysphoria reported by TNB individuals. These findings demonstrate a complex, far reaching, and relatively stable impact of social and systemic factors on the development and maintenance of gender dysphoria that needs to be integrated into the process of conceptualization, assessment, and treatment.

Original Article

"I Carry So Much Anger, and That Is Not Good for My Health": The Mental Health Impact of Current Gender-Affirming Healthcare Pathways on Transgender Adults in England

Luka C. J. White , Daisy Holland , Marija Pantelic , Carrie Llewellyn

This study aimed to explore the mental health impact of current gender-affirming healthcare (GAHC) pathways on transgender people in England. Trans participants (experts by experience) were recruited through purposive sampling and took part in qualitative semi-structured interviews between October 2021 and January 2022. The data generated were analysed and coded using a thematic framework analysis. Sixteen trans individuals participated. The majority were white, transfeminine, and reported a disability and/or neurodivergence. Four key themes reflecting the mental health impact of GAHC pathways were identified: (1) anticipated or experienced discrimination, (2) long waiting times for treatment, (3) socio-geographic disparities, and (4) the role of psychotherapy and peer support. The mixed and inequitable provision of GAHC contributes to trans minority stress and has a substantial negative impact on the mental health of trans individuals, with participants describing healthcare avoidance, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, suicidality, anger, and chronic stress-related physical disability. Early access through primary care services to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), voice coaching, laser hair removal, and fertility preservation is likely to improve the mental health of trans individuals, alongside trans-affirmative or trans-led psychotherapy and peer support.

Original Article

Attack Helicopters and White Supremacy: Interpreting Malicious Responses to an Online Questionnaire about Transgender Undergraduate Engineering and Computer Science Student Experiences

Andrea Haverkamp , Finn Johnson , Michelle K. Bothwell , Qwo-Li Driskill , Devlin Montfort

Online research that solicits participation from marginalized communities or is conducted by scholars of marginalized identities may be targeted by individuals who intend to tamper with the study outcomes and/or harass the researchers. Our goal is to identify and interpret malicious responses recorded in a first-of-its-kind national questionnaire for transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) students in undergraduate engineering and computer science programs. Data categorized as malicious (50 of the 349 total responses) contained slurs, hate speech, or direct targeting of the research team. The data was coded inductively and discursively interpreted through social justice frameworks. The responses contained homophobic, transphobic, ableist, anti-Black, antisemitic, and anti-Indigenous content. Online memes associated with white nationalist and fascist movements were present throughout the data, alongside memes and content referencing gaming and “nerd” culture. Malicious responses can provide critical insight into the social conditions in STEM education. In application, we call for researchers to critically analyze, rather than discard, malicious data to shed light on these phenomena and generate empowering “counterspeech” to confront hate and reclaim agency. These findings show that social justice STEM education must include perspectives on online hate radicalization and center anti-colonial, intersectional solidarity organizing as its opposition.

Original Article

The Political Participation of Transgender Community in Kerala: Rights, Accessibility, and Activism

Vinshy P. K.

This brief report examines the political exclusion of the transgender community in Kerala and factors impeding trans people’s inclusion in electoral politics. The report’s main argument is that the political exclusion of the trans community in Kerala is an extension of their socio-economic exclusion. Cultural and social exclusion, institutional or structural barriers, lack of identification documents, lack of awareness about the right to vote, lack of money and resources, violence, and discrimination are some of the factors that hamper the political participation of trans people. This report also showcases some possible recommendations for change that would increase the political inclusion of transgender people in Kerala.

Brief Report

Building a Rural Gynecology Gender Health Program to Bring Care Closer to Home

Julia S. Mead , Charlotte V. Hastings , Ilana Cass , Ella A. Damiano

Transgender and gender diverse patients face significant healthcare disparities that are often exacerbated for those living in rural areas. Our aim is to describe the characteristics of and medical services utilized by a transgender and gender diverse population seeking gynecologic care in a rural area. We conducted a retrospective chart review of transgender and gender diverse individuals who sought care and/or underwent gender-affirming gynecologic surgery at our institution. We compared patients presenting to the gynecology clinic from 2017–2018 to patients presenting to the dedicated Gynecology Gender Clinic from 2019–2020. We also describe the features that distinguish the clinic as specialized care. The clinic was able to utilize a pre-visit questionnaire to obtain patient name, pronouns, and gender identity in advance of the visit. Total unique patient volume increased by 83% (average 12 per year to average 22 per year). Hysterectomies performed increased by 320% (from 5 to 21 post-implementation) and encounter volume increased by 84%. The development of a Gynecology Gender Clinic program has led to an increase in clinical and surgical volume, improving access to care. Our data demonstrates feasibility of implementing the clinic and demand for specialized gender care in a rural community.

Brief Report

Preserving Transgender History in its Own Right: A Case Study of the Trans Equality Archive

Thomas J Billard

As transgender people have become more salient in American society, there has been a commensurate increase in interest in transgender history. However, archival collections currently have weak holdings in transgender history and materials pertaining to the history of the transgender movement remain under-collected. This brief report examines the Trans Equality Archive, a new archive of primary and secondary materials pertaining to transgender political history at the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, DC. Challenges pertaining to scope, born-digital records, and organizational priorities are considered as they relate to the preservation of neglected transgender histories.

Brief Report