Intersectional Lens: Trans & Non-Binary Experiences I

Wednesday May 18 11:00 am to 12:30 pm (Eastern Daylight Time)
Virtual Platform

Session Code: GAS4A
Session Format: Regular Session
Session Language: English
Research Cluster Affiliation: Gender and Sexuality
Session Categories: Regular Session

The sociology of gender and sexuality has made important contributions to the study of transgender and non-binary experiences. These include analyses of the development of trans and non-binary identities in childhood, the healthcare and mental health challenges experienced by non-binary and trans adolescents, and the parenting experiences of transgender and non-binary children. Others include work on the boundaries of trans and non-binary identity membership, as well as violence and discrimination against trans and non-binary individuals and the growing representation of non-binary and trans lives in mainstream media and popular culture. This session features papers that extend current analyses of trans and non-binary experiences in local and global contexts. Tags: Equality and Inequality, Gender, Sexuality, Trans & Non-binary

Organizers: Chris Tatham, University of Toronto, Paulina García-Del Moral, University of Guelph; Chairs: Chris Tatham, University of Toronto, Paulina García-Del Moral, University of Guelph


Jada Joseph, Concordia University

Gatekeeping and Structural Violence in Accessing Gender-Affirming Experiences and Support Among Trans and Gender Diverse Youth in Quebec

The current model of trans healthcare practised in Quebec involves trans people obtaining permission from a psychologist, sexologist, general practitioner or in some instances a social worker to access gender-affirming care (GAC). Medical science upholds the binary system by suggesting that most trans people desire medically transitioning from one binary gender to another; thus, requiring ones “transness" to be attested by health practitioners; the gatekeepers. The truth is rarely recognized as residing within trans and gender diverse people; thus, to access GAC, ones narrative must align with that upheld by the medical community. The authority of medical science and health practitioners is most apparent amongst trans and gender diverse youth who are at risk of experiencing childism in addition to other systems of oppression. Young-Bruehl (2013) defines childism as “prejudice against children,” in which the rights of children are dismissed due to the “prejudicial assumption that children are possessions of adults and thus do not have rights” (p. 4 &10). While navigating western institutions, the needs, and voices of trans and gender diverse (TGD) youth may be silenced to prioritize the opinions of their parents and the health practitioners who seek to uphold cisnormativity. This presentation provides a brief historical presentation of policies that lead TGD youth in Quebec to experience structural violence and human rights violations. Following is a review of the literature on the need to depathologize trans experiences and honour the self-determination of youth. The authors also present two alternative models to trans healthcare, the informed consent model and the gender-affirming model. Both models have promise in shifting away from paternalistic modes of care and t transforming trans healthcare at the micro and macro level.

Hannah Kia, University of British Columbia

"Accessing your community": Leveraging the promise and potential for critical group work with transgender (trans) and gender diverse people

Transgender (trans) and gender diverse (TGD) populations continue experiencing prominent expressions of stigma and discrimination across healthcare and social service settings. Given the growing body of empirical evidence on the marginalization of these communities across systems of care, it is not surprising that the issues and needs of TGD people are increasingly considered across bodies of applied and critical social science scholarship. Despite this growing interest in addressing the experiences of TGD communities, however, insights on critical and emancipatory approaches to addressing the health and social service needs of this population remain limited. In this presentation, I present data from a qualitative study in which I drew on the principles of constructivist grounded theory to interview 20 TGD people, along with 10 social workers, to analyze both groups’ perspectives on constituents of equitable social service design and delivery to address the needs of TGD populations. Given the salience of group work as a critical source of community support and engagement in TGD participants’ accounts in particular, I leverage these data to consider the promise and potential for critical, affirming, and emancipatory group-based social support among TGD people. Specifically, I discuss the possible strengths of group-based support in (1) validating TGD bodies, identities, and experiences, (2) promoting strategies for resisting cisnormativity, transphobia, and other systems of oppression shaping TGD lives, and (3) cultivating self-sustaining networks of mutual support and advocacy. Drawing on the empirical data, together with pre-existing literature on trans-affirming care, I conclude with strategies for the design and facilitation of emancipatory group-based social support in TGD communities. I also consider implications of my analysis for applied scholarship concerning the prominent inequities shaping the social context and lived experiences of TGD people.