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Декабрь 10, 2009

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01:15 pm - Fuck You Reloaded

Fuck You and Fuck Your Fucking Thesis

Why I Will Not Participate in Trans Studies

Dear Mr. or Ms. Grad Student, I am sorry to report that I will not participate in your study as a data point. I don't understand what you're trying to accomplish. I don't trust you. I don't like you. I don't care if you succeed. In fact, I kind of think you suck. Here's why:

What do you think you're going to do for me? For us? For trans women? Do you think it makes a difference if you study the menstruation needs of trans guys? Or you study trans people's partners' self-declared sexual orientation? How about sexual practices and HIV? How about trans culture and SM, would that change my life? Would that change anyone's life, except maybe to get you a few dates with some svelte transguy? Oh and a book contract, you might get a book contract. And your thesis getting approved could very well land you a post-doc or a teaching position somewhere, certainly aim you for a career... fuck you.

I'm sure you have self-serving justifications. Everybody has self-serving justifications, its how us humans get through the day. But I don't care what they are. You aren't the first, hell you're probably not the first this week, and you probably won't be the last to try to convince me that this particular topic, this particular project, this very one that you thought of, will change the world and make things better. Hell, I've probably helped as many non-trans people finish grad school as I've seen trans women friends commit suicide- let me think about that for a minute, both number in the dozens... and how many people have I seen go through grad school openly as trans women? None. Wait, no, one. No, two. Three? No, just two. Am I supposed to ignore that imbalance and keep pushing you wankers along?

Let me tell you something: trans people have already been studied. We've been interviewed, sampled, tested, cross-referenced, experimented upon, medicated, shocked, examined, and dissected post-mortem. You've looked at our chromosomes, our families, our blood levels, our ring fingers, our mothers' medicine cabinets, and our genitalia (over and over again with the genitalia- stop pushing condoms on us, dumbass, we know what they're for.) You've watched us play with dolls, raise children, fall in love, look at pornography, get sick, die, and commemorate ourselves. You've listened to our ears. You've listened to our fucking ears! But you've never listened to our voices and you need to do that now.

There are already studies about what trans people need. You want them? Go read the needs assessment Michelle O'Brien wrote for THAC in Philadelphia. Go look at the final report of the Sex and Gender Minority Subcommittee of the Mayor's Task Force on Homelessness. Go read that amazing omnibus study the San Francisco public health department commissioned a few years back, the one that found trans women have an average monthly income of $536. Ever seen rents in San Francisco?

So what do people like me need? Not counseling. Not new labels on condoms. Not more doctoral candidates palpating our business. Trans women need, more or less in order: decriminalization, housing, education and employment. As in, not being swept off the street, not being banned from shelters, yes being allowed in GED classes, and, well, employment. Can you provide these? Not as a goddamn researcher, and probably not as a member in good standing of whatever professional body you aspire to join. You want to actually do something as good you say you want to do, drop out, abrogate your loans, and become a social worker. Decriminalization, housing, education and employment. You'd do better to hire one of us as a receptionist.

Oh sure, I'll bet you can find some young trans woman, probably a year or two out of the closet, who will swear to you that if only she had hormones, if only she could get surgery everything would be okay. Its very sweet that you weren't too intimidated to talk to her, but she's wrong. There is not stealth horde of passing women waiting to claim the young after just one more hoop- we are who we are, and we are talking to you right now. Hormones are nice but they won't make you employable. Surgery is great but it won't get the cops off your back. Facial reconstruction won't get you a lover. Decriminalization, housing, education and employment.

Y'know, a thought occurs to me. Everything on that list I keep repeating comes from somewhere else, didja notice? These aren't problems caused by genitalia, or elongated ring fingers. These are problems caused by social conditions, by society, by the people who run the world around us who, funny, look a lot like you. Have you ever considered studying yourselves? Why do non-trans people have such a big fucking problem with us? Why do they care where we shower or whether their IRB sees us hanging around the computer center after hours? Why is it so damned important who we date, or, frankly, whether someone like you is dating one of us or not? Can you tell me that? Why not, Mr. or Ms. Big-Shot Researcher Who Wants To Do Something Good For The World? Too hard to do the... research? I'd love to see an fMRI series of psychology grad students watching a video in which attractive trans women explain to them that their proposal lacks... a bit of depth, maybe it could do with a more developed sense of social context perhaps? Come up with another draft by, lets say, the 16th, can we all meet again on the 16th? How does this essay make you feel: indifferent, mostly indifferent, somewhat indifferent, somewhat angry, or very angry?

And somewhere, I bet, there's a trans guy wondering why people like you who want "to do work around trans issues" always seem to have so many FTMs as friends.

What trans people need is to get through a day without being inspected, not by the guy making change at the Wa Wa and not by the hipster with an academic stipend. We need data, ideas, plans and strategies, but we need to see them coming from people like us, people who don't, right now, seem to make it into your little position of power. We don't need your study, we don't need your thesis, and we really don't need you to graduate and "do good work." And you? You don't need us either. You are pretty much guaranteed a good life with or without my participation in your little project so please- stuff it up your ass. I say this will all the deference the circumstances warrant.

With love,


(92 комментария | Оставить комментарий)


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[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 11, 2009 03:01 pm
oh, awesome! definitely this.
Date:Декабрь 11, 2009 07:09 pm
can I friend you on this LJ thing? You appear to be awesome. Thus, we have something in common.

Also, I want to know more trans folks going into medicine.
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 12, 2009 04:28 am
Directed this way by shemale. This is great.
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 12, 2009 05:31 am
me as well! this is awesome
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 12, 2009 07:09 am

Well, fuck you, too.

Dear Ms. Tagonist,

I don't know you. You don't know me. All that I've read of yours is this post.

You have every right to not participate in any study. You don't need a reason. Just say no. And you'll do well by knowing the research on trans* folk, and passing those papers to would-be academics so that they don't repeat the same studies.

You imply that the real reason some people are interested in trans* folk is because they are actually trans* themselves. And at the same time, you don't want to help them get a post-doc or teaching position. That position would make cultural conservatives proud: they would agree that we don't need trans* folk in academia.

Without your help, Hollywood will be glad to spread rumors about what all trans* folk are like. Most people get their ideas of trans* folk from The Silence of the Lambs, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Bruno, Ed Wood, or The Crying Game.

In the midst of this letter, you point out the truth: that prejudice against trans* folk keeps them from many jobs, education, housing, or social services. Prejudice kills. And I agree that more social workers can help.

But the way to change prejudice against a group is through knowing people of that group. As more people have met and known gays since the 1980s, prejudice has slowly been dropping.

Insist that people treat you as the woman that you are. Don't take part in studies that ignore your humanity. But turning down all studies just guarantees that your voice won't be heard.

With love,
Date:Декабрь 12, 2009 09:25 am

Re: Well, fuck you, too.

among other things, tagonist must be quite a pilot. because the point flew right the fuck over your head.
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 12, 2009 02:48 pm
Linked here. This was well said.
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 12, 2009 05:33 pm
Linked here via shemale. Thank you for making this public; it needed to be said.
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 13, 2009 05:46 pm
this is amazing. i'm reposting elsewhere, crediting you of course. thanks! nora (up in montreal)
(Удалённый комментарий)
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 13, 2009 09:16 pm
Oh Stacey, speaking of people I never hear from anymore... This may be what FtMs choose to do, I certainly grant them that. I also don't think the solution here is "better studies" but "not seeing trans people as an intellectual problem to be solved in the first place" but I recognize what this is about.

Also, I'd worry about the meaning of "legitimacy" if it were me...
(Удалённый комментарий)
(Удалённый комментарий)
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 13, 2009 10:44 pm

Thank you.

This is a brilliant rage against the self-serving, condescending, appropriative solicitations that cis folks make on the lives, bodies, identities and sheer time in a fucking day of trans and gender-non conforming people.

Even if/when research is useful to trans folks -- There is something inherently problematic about cis gendered folks conducting, deciphering writing and publishing studies about trans folks. As though cisgenderedness had nothing to do with our lives -- they could do everyone a hell of a favor by studying what's so fucked up about their gendered assumptions, but that wouldn't allow them to play Oh Holy Doctors.

Brief rage of my own: I recently started a FB group to organize genderqueer/trans/gender non-conforming folks in my town and on the first day, the first person to leave any discussion topic was a woman asking to conduct a survey about us. I found this person on another city's GQ FB group also asking to conduct the same survey. The speed of her solicitation was as insulting as the solicitation itself.

P.S. Linked here by a friend of an LJ friend of yours. I'm glad this was still a public entry.
Date:Декабрь 13, 2009 11:47 pm

trans in grad school

Hi, I'm Jolene and I am a Ph D candidate in psychology. I am also a MTF. I just wanted you to know a third transperson in grad school
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 14, 2009 03:13 am
Thank you so much for saying things which I (usually) don't have the balls to say out loud. :)

I could go on all day addressing each of your points and how totally right on they are, but I want to particularly note my appreciation for the jab at the expression "work around trans issues". Work around trans issues? Usually, when I go "around" something, I'm avoiding it. If I wanted to actually go near the thing, I'd go "on", "through", or right the hell "in".
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 14, 2009 04:20 am
Thank you. :)

Ugh, onec I started filling out this study (about trans people and your experience with discrimination) and I sent an email to the psych saying: "Um.... I am a member of multiple minorities. I can't separate out trans from everything else...."


It really turned me off.
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 14, 2009 05:30 am

I may take the basic concept and rework it for poly issues and use it. Well done.


[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 15, 2009 11:08 pm

applause is not gratitude, nor is it understanding

Why don't you ask permission to "rework" the "basic concept" (which is what, did you think)...instead of just coming here and marking the territory you wish to redecorate in your own image??
Date:Декабрь 14, 2009 07:53 am


This is exactly right.
[User Picture]
Date:Декабрь 14, 2009 08:33 am
Academia is largely wank of some sort or another. Even hard sciences and engineering where I work. We exclude people who aren't "like us" or "the right sort" whatever that even means. I get knocked out of a it when I see someone present on something like making a better mud brick for homes in Africa (it might have been Nigeria or Chad or Madagascar; I can't recall). The student designed a better damned brick mix from locally available (in target area) cheap or free stuff, then field tested it on location. People started living in homes built from them right away. That man is one of the few I've seen who earned a PhD actually making the world a better place. Hell, I just siphon money from NIH and NSF and blow it away on cryosolvents. If I'm lucky, I'll get a paragraph in a textbook somewhere that some undergrad will forget if they even bother to read it. If I write a thesis, that is (program endangered, this time not for being queer -- just PTSD)

It is the devils' pendulum: without basic data no one will fund further study which will benefit folks on the ground, the vast majority of data comes from college psychology class students who are NOT a representative *&^# sample, so funding is granted to study the problems of the privileged. And of course the problems faced by the minority in question must be explained to Whitey McPI in digestible terms that do not paint McPI as a potential contributor to said problem. The controversy this spring over who was to head the DSM-V committee on "gender identity disorder" comes glaringly to mind. It becomes this overwhelming gelatinous mass to which the only solution is to start building something else. And motherfucking jobs? education? housing? decriminalization? I can work on all of that the minute I get my head out of my ass.

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