There are so many bad studies out there, studies full of ignorant questions, written by cissexist pathologizing researches I want to share one which isn’t.I’m not a huge fan of the phrase trans spectrum disorders, as it could suggest that genderqueer people are half trans, I still this this is decent research which is worth supporting.
My name is Jay Ledbetter and I am a graduate student at San Francisco
State University. I am working on my Master’s thesis in social
psychology under the supervision of Professor Chuck Tate in the
Department of Psychology. My thesis research tries to advance our
understanding of gender identity by exploring the similarities and
differences between people who have transgender spectrum identities
(viz. transgender and genderqueer identities) and people who have
cisgender identities (i.e., identify with their birth-assigned gender
category). The research is therefore designed in a trans-inclusive way
to help us discover how everyone experiences gender identity, and, as
a result, to help social and personality psychology become more trans-
inclusive in their approaches to designing surveys and collecting
information. I am writing to ask you to participate in my thesis
research by responding to the survey questions listed in the link
My advisor and I are painfully aware that most surveys in psychology
are not inclusive of—or even recognizing of—trans spectrum identities
because we ourselves have trans spectrum identities. Specifically, I
am genderqueer and Professor Tate is a transgender woman (who is also
genderqueer as butch-presenting). Thus, we do not see ourselves and
our experiences represented very well in the status quo of psychology
research. We are therefore personally as well as professionally
motivated to change the way psychology studies transgender and
genderqueer identities. Yet, we need your help to do this well. We
need our voices to be heard.
The study below is a quantitative survey, meaning that you must answer
a number of questions that require you to agree with statements on a
number scale, rather than providing narrative descriptions of your
experience as a transgender or genderqueer person. We know that some
people do not believe that trans spectrum identities can be adequately
captured by quantitative studies, and we respect this position.
Nonetheless, consider this: Psychology is among the most privileged
social sciences, especially in popular culture, and relies heavily on
quantitative information as described above. Consequently, having your
voice heard on the quantitative side helps everyone in the social
sciences (and eventually popular culture) gain a better understanding
of trans spectrum identities. If you routinely opt out of quantitative
studies, this decreases the amount and kind of quantitative
information we can see and report about—to other scientists and
popular press writers. As we indicated above, since we are trans-
identified ourselves, we have taken much time and effort to make sure
that our quantitative approach is as inclusive as it can be for our
identities. We need as many transgender and genderqueer voices as
possible in this area to create change.
To be most effective in our research efforts, we want respondents at
all levels of education, with varying sexual identities or
orientations, and with different life experiences. Accordingly, please
let friends, loved ones, and colleagues know about this study.
Everyone who takes the survey must be 18 years old or older.
If you choose to participate, no identifying information or names will
be collected. Thus, a participant’s name cannot be connected in any
way to the responses he/she/ze provides; stated differently, responses
are completely anonymous in this study. The research data will be kept
in secure, password-protected computers in Professor Tate’s research
lab. Only the researcher (Ledbetter), advisor (Tate), and trained
research assistants will have access to the data.
There is a minimal risk of discomfort or anxiety due to the nature of
the questions asked; however, the participant should answer only those
questions he/she/ze chooses, and can stop participation in the
research at any time.
By participating in this survey, you are helping researchers better
understand the full range of gender identity experiences, and where
the similarities in these experiences lie for trans-spectrum and
cisgender identities. Additionally, you are helping change the way
data are collected in social and personality psychology by having your
voice be heard as a respondent. The more voices we hear through these
responses, the more likely it is that other researchers take notice of
this approach and become more inclusive in the quantitative study of
gender identity in all social science fields. You will also have the
opportunity to leave anonymous comments about our research approach,
especially whether (and in what ways) it could be improved.
For the purposes of this study, the researcher asks that you or any
respondent complete the study only one time. The total time
commitment is approximately 1 hour and the entire survey is completed
If you would like to participate, please click the following link:
If you have any further questions about the study, you may contact the
researcher, Jay Ledbetter by email at email@example.com or you may
contact the researcher’s advisor, Professor Chuck Tate at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 415.338.2267.
Questions about your rights as a study participant, or comments or
complaints about the study, may also be addressed to the Office for
the Protection of Human Subjects at San Francisco State University,
via phone at 415-338-1093 or via email at email@example.com.
SPAMS Lab Manager
Social Psychology Graduate Student
San Francisco State University
This radio documentary from the Australian broadcasting corporation gives me hope, trans kids living there lives, every trans person I know, who knew at childhood, suffered years of silence, of fear, knowing they couldn’t speak their truth, I suffered that, and now I think god, there are people out there who wont suffer like that, there are children who will grow up without those 20 lost years. It makes me want to cry.
The title of the post, is from the documentary, and struck me because I at 25 have finally got to the point where I asked my parents, to use male pronouns for me, I mean they knew I was on T, they gave me the injections but I couldn’t bring myself to say, my reality is important, and I need to you work around it, rather than me working around you.
I feel, as a feminist that the moment has a lot to apologise for, white middle class feminisms have ignored and pushed out trans women, sex workers women of colour and other minorities, so I am heartened to see that the Melbourne feminist futures conference is reminding us just how far we haven’t come. But inviting speakers and programs with the most bigoted backward looking agenda I have seen in a while.
The conference it’s self has a participants agreement, sent to speakers which I have seen it says that speakers must not engage in transphobia and whorephobia (as well as many other intersecting oppressions). They have chosen to completely ignore in their choice of speakers and abstracts. They say that people cannot be whore or trans phobic however Sheila’s proposed speech can hardly be read as anything but whore phobic.
While Sheila Jeffries is one of best known of the speakers, she is far from the only onespeaker. There is a women who worked for 12 years for the conservative senator Brian Harradine the man whose support kept RU 486 illgeal and supported the restrictions on Ausaid supporting abortion access as part of fundamental healthcare access. Melinda Tankard Reist has also worked for anti choice groups and has written a book supported by the anti-choice movement.
On the facebook page a person used the phrase male to constructed female, a blast from the past that many people hoped would stay in the past.
There are as far as I am aware no Trans speakers at the conference, and while there are sexworkers running a workshop, they have not been given an oppertuinity to counter these womens views.
On the conference home page they say
The conference seeks to reclaim the concept of “feminism” as a positive and necessary political ideal that is of direct relevance to our everyday lives.
I can only speak for myself, but having anti trans, anti whore, anti choice feminists talk at your conference, particualy when there no voices from those groups to counterbalance the oppressive shit being presented, that doesn’t help me feel like feminism is positive or necessary for me or my friends life, in fact these are exactly the kind of feminists who mean that a friend of mine who was a sex worker was stopped from volunteering for a women’s shelter because sex workers are a dangerous to “real” women, and the feminists who keep trans women out of women shelters even though they are at high risk of partner and family violence. In short they are the kinds of feminists who make me question the label for myself.
Editted to add: Melinda Tankard Reist is no longer speaking and Sheila Jeffries is no longer presenting the workshop why prostitution is violence against women.
I am struggling to express how pissed off I am about this one article.
[trigger warning: quotes below]
Some men said they would be extremely angry if they had sex with a transman, because the overwhelming feeling would be that they had been tricked.
These are words which have legally justified the killing of trans women in the past, it supported the removal of trans people from queer communities, supporting the isolation that many trans people suffer.
Most trans people I know talk about body dysmorphia, as there core gender discomfort they talk about there body being fundamentally wrong to them, I know that feeling, but it isn’t the dominant feeling I get is social dysmorphia, its not that I hate my chest, lots of the time I can take or leave my chest, unless my body dysmorphia is particularly bad I wont bind at home, I will wonder around in a t-shirt unbothered by my boobs, sometimes I will even wear a low cut top.
What bothers me is what my body means to other people. Several lovers have “proved” my femaleness by grabbing my crotch or my chest, those have been some of the most humiliating times of my life, in one case the person didn’t know, things had moved rather fast and she commented that I didn’t have a cock playfully, but the other two where direct attacks on my identity on the basis of what my body means, my body was taken as truth, my mind was clearly wrong.
I just want to say, if you date trans people, never ever do this, never ever. It’s hurtful and stupid.
Its not sexism that bothers me, it does bother me, I hate hearing women hated and disrespected, but it isn’t just then, its being included positively in female spaces, being asked to talk about what women geeks need, it’s ever she, and her that run nails down the blackboard in my brain. Its the invite to the women’s play party that reminds me that am considered female.
I don’t mind my body, but other people are hell.
Thank you Helen, thank you for doing work I should have done.
I worried when I saw the statistic of 23 years, it didn’t seem right, even with all the shit that trans people face, 23? that is huge, that is less than half the life expectancy of indigenous Australians, a group who suffer major oppression and substandard health care.
It reminds me of the overestimation of child sex trafficking, numbers quoted over and over with very little back up.
We need to do better than this, bad numbers lead to bad responses and we as activists and allies need to do better, we need to make sure that our numbers have good basis, and when they are guesses that we are clear that they are guesses.
I was out recently at my friends party, which had a lot of people I didn’t know, she asked if she should be correcting people who where reading me as female, she said.
I’ve seen that look in your eyes when you are trying not to show that you have just been kicked in the guts.
Did I mention she has an amazing way with words, that was just so right, so true it grabbed me. I am, in some respects so fucking nice, so fucking wilting, I let people walk all over me, I am to scared of my monstrous that I wont fucking ask for people to refer to me with something that doesn’t make me flinch. I act like pronouns aren’t a big deal because I don’t want them to be a big deal, but they are, and they not because of what they are, but because of what they symbolise.
“She” is that reminder that everyone else in the world see me differently than I see myself, “She” hurts because it remind me that I am still up for debate. The link is about being queer but there are plenty of invited speakers who claim that trans people don’t exist, or shouldn’t exist.
“She” is all those things, so maybe “She” isn’t being kicked in the stomach, maybe “she” is being hit on a bruise, it wouldn’t hurt a cis person, because they haven’t had been kicked there already.
It doesn’t need to be intentional, one can hug broken ribs with the best of intentions.
Something struck me the other day, seeing the little bottles of Testosterone in the box near my bed.
Wait and see, Trans people are often told, and its often not bad advice, if you don’t need to transition for your mental health, and you’re not sure then sure, wait.
But the reasons I don’t want to wait are not personal, I have a current prescription for Testosterone, I can keep using it with having to further justify myself, but if doctors know I stopped, because I don’t refill the script, I will have to explain myself.
A reason that I started transitioning one of the reasons was that I was afraid to have a female work history, I am about to finish up university and go out into the real world, when I started Testosterone I wanted to be passing as male by the time. I don’t know that if I wanted to live stealth, but I wanted it to be an option, I wanted to not have to announce to all my co-workers that I was really some kind of self hating lesbian. I wanted that because of transphobia and cisexism because trans men aren’t “real men”, because I would be distrusted, I would be crazy, because I couldn’t say “I am a transsexual” and have that be a neutral comment, like “I was born in England” or even I have a hormone disorder, so I need injections.
Because “having a nose job is a thing you do, but a dick job is a thing you are” – Riki Wilchins (this may not be an exact quote)
I don’t know what the grand narrative is here, but I am afraid of what it will cost me to take more time.
Lots of people, cool people, well meaning people have asked me questions since I stopped T about my gender which I have been unable to answer.
There is a point in a book that I like where a wizard and a non wizard are discussing what a magic box actually is.
“All right, then,” said Moist, “what does it do?”
“We don’t know.”
“How does it work?”
“We don’t know.”
“Where did it come from?”
“We don’t know.”
“Well, that seems to be all,” said Moist sarcastically. “Oh no, one last one: what is it? And let me tell you, I’m agog.”
“That may be the wrong sort of question to ask,” said Ponder, shaking his head. “Technically it appears to be a classic Bag of Holding but with n mouths, where n is the number of items in an eleven-dimensional universe, which are not currently alive, not pink, and can fit in a cubical drawer 14.14 inches on a side, divided by P.”
“That may be the wrong sort of question.”
So, what am I getting at is that I am not trying to be obtuse, I promise, I don’t know what my gender is, whether I am trans for whatever particular definition of trans we are working with now, whether I will start T again, or a whole lot of other questions.
So what are thing right sort of questions? I am not sure yet but I suspect, what can I live with, what will maximise my happiness, what will allow me to live a life which is truly “mine” whatever that means, are going to be closer to the mark.
Some freinds of mine over at twitter have been talking about setting up a wiki for collecting and sharing info on transtioning and trans medical tech, the hash tag for this is #transwiki if you want to get involved you can post to that hash tag or contact @cheshireb who is currently collecting offeres of help, not feeling he is able to commit to the technical side of the project at the moment. He is contactable at chesh (dot) bitten (at) gmail (dot) com.
#transwiki is a plan to see up a wiki to share evidence based info on trans medical and transition technology, a center place to read About hormones and blockers and surgery and voice training and risks and services and so on It needs a lead as I have no time