and Transgender Studies

Read to Respond: Queer Studies

R2R final logoOur “Read to Respond” series addresses the current climate of misinformation by highlighting articles and books that encourage thoughtful, educated debate on today’s most pressing issues. This post focuses on queer studies in celebration of Pride Month and yesterday’s Equality March for Unity & Pride. Read, reflect, and share these resources in and out of the classroom to keep these important conversations going.

Queer Studies

These articles are freely available until December 15, 2017. Follow along with the series over the next several months and share your thoughts with #ReadtoRespond.

Read to Respond: Articles for Student Activists

R2R final logoOur “Read to Respond” series addresses the current climate of misinformation by highlighting articles and books that encourage thoughtful, educated debate on today’s most pressing issues. Read, reflect, and share these resources in and out of the classroom to keep these important conversations going.

Articles for Student Activists:

These articles are freely available until August 15, 2017. Follow along with the series over the next several months and share your thoughts with #ReadtoRespond.

TSQ 101 for International Transgender Day of Visibility

In honor of the ninth annual International Transgender Day of Visibility, a celebration of transgender people that raises awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, we selected nine articles from issues of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly that provide essential insights into terms, conversations, and challenges within the field of trans* studies.

  1. “Introduction”
    Susan Stryker and Paisley Currah
    Volume 1, Number 1-2

    This introduction to the first issue of TSQ provides an outline of the history and scope of the field of transgender studies.

  2. “Introduction: Trans/Feminisms”
    Susan Stryker and Talia M. Bettcher
    Volume 3, Number 1-2

    This introduction to the issue “Trans/Feminisms” counters forms of feminist transphobia within the feminist community by highlighting inspiring work currently being undertaken around the world under the banner of transfeminism.

  3. “Microaggressions”
    Sonny Nordmarken
    Volume 1, Number 1-2
    Transgender studies keyword essay

    This essay explores the term “microaggressions,” or commonplace, interpersonally communicated “othering” messages related to a person’s perceived marginalized status.

  4. “Radical Inclusion: Recounting the Trans Inclusive History of Radical Feminism”
    Cristan Williams
    Volume 3, Number 1-2

    This article reviews the ways in which radical feminism has been and continues to be trans inclusive. Trans inclusive radical feminist opinion leaders, groups, and events are reviewed and contrasted against a popular media narrative that asserts that radical feminism takes issue with trans people. Reviewed are historical instances in which radical feminists braved violence to ensure their feminism was trans inclusive.

  5. “Decolonizing Transgender: A Roundtable Discussion”
    Tom Boellstorff, Mauro Cabral, Micha Cardenas, Trystan Cotten, Eric A. Stanley, Kalaniopua Young, Aren Z. Aizura
    Volume 1, Number 3

    Participants in this roundtable discussion wrestled with definitions of decolonization, how decolonization has affected them personally and politically, and how trans* studies can offer strategies to demarginalize the community.

  6. “Transgender”
    Cristan Williams
    Volume 1, Number 1-2
    Transgender studies keyword essay

    This essay explores the term “transgender” and how it gained widespread use as the umbrella term for describing a range of gender-variant identities and communities within the United States in the early 1990s.

  7. “Cisgender”
    B. Aultman
    Volume 1, Number 1-2
    Transgender studies keyword essay

    This essay explores the term “cisgender,” which describes individuals who possess, from birth and into adulthood, the male or female reproductive organs (sex) typical of the social category of man or woman (gender) to which that individual was assigned at birth. The essay tracks the term’s emergence from trans* activist discourses in the 1990s.

  8. “Cultural Competency”
    Willy Wilkinson
    Volume 1, Number 1-2
    Transgender studies keyword essay

    This essay explores the term “cultural competency,” or the ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with diverse populations, measured by awareness, attitude, knowledge, skills, behaviors, policies, procedures, and organizational systems.

  9. “Transition”
    Julian Carter
    Volume 1, Number 1-2
    Transgender studies keyword essay

    This essay explores the term “transition,” the vernacular term of choice in North America for describing the process or experience of changing gender.


Celebrate International Transgender Visibility Day with us by downloading free coloring pages of a few of TSQ’s most memorable journal covers below. Share your colored-in sheet on Instagram or Twitter for a chance to win a TSQ gift bag! Tag @DukePress on Twitter or @dukeuniversitypress on Instagram with the hashtag #ColorMyTSQ!

TSQ Gift Bag

Enter for a chance to win issues of the journal, a signed TSQ book plate, and Duke University Press swag!



2017 Modern Language Association Highlights and Wrap-Up

We had a great time selling books and journals, meeting authors, and congratulating award-winners at the 2017 annual meeting of the Modern Language Association (MLA) in Philadelphia last week. Thank you to all who stopped by our exhibit booth to browse and buy. In case you couldn’t attend, here are some conference highlights!

The convention kicked off with the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) awards on Thursday. Congratulations again to David Scott, editor of Small Axe, for his 2016 Distinguished Editor Award! Read more about David Scott, the award, and Small Axe here.


Nadia Ellis, author of Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora

Several Duke authors were also honored with awards this year. Nadia Ellis won the William Sanders Scarborough Prize Honorable Mention for her book, Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora.

From the GL/Q Caucus of the MLA, Petrus Liu won the Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize Honorable Mention for his book, Queer Marxism in Two Chinas.

Jose David Saldivar, co-editor of Junot Diaz and the Decolonial Imagination and author of Trans-Americanity, was awarded the American Literature Society’s Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in American Literary Studies.

Jasbir K. Puar, author of the Social Text #124 article “Bodies with New Organs: Becoming Trans, Becoming Disabled,” won the GL/Q Caucus’s Crompton-Noll Prize for Best LGBTQ Studies Article. Read the article, made freely available.

A Friday reception celebrated the minnesota review and Mediations.0106171938a

We were also happy to see some of our authors and journal editors stop by our booth. Here are a few photos:

Couldn’t make it to the convention? Are there still books you want to buy but couldn’t fit in your suitcase? Don’t worry—you can still stock up on books and journals at using our conference discount. Just use coupon code MLA17 at checkout through the end of February!

Jimmy Creech Celebrates Marriage Equality in NC

Adams GiftFormer Methodist minister Jimmy Creech wrote about his experience fighting for marriage equality for same-sex couples in his book Adam’s Gift: A Memoir of a Pastor’s Calling to Defy the Church’s Persecution of Lesbians and Gays in 2011. The book is new in paperback this fall. In this post he writes about his joy after a judge overturned North Carolina’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Friday afternoon, October 10. 

Like everyone, I didn’t expect and wasn’t prepared for the US Supreme Court’s history-making announcement on Monday, October 6, that opened the door to marriage equality in North Carolina. I expected the court to make a positive ruling, but not before June 2015.

In May, Joni and Gina invited me to officiate at a wedding ceremony for them on October 18. Their plan was to be legally married in the District of Columbia on the 17th, and have a wedding ceremony the next day with their families and friends. While they badly wanted to be legally married in their home state, waiting until June 2015 was just too long a wait. When the US Supreme Court’s decision made their legal marriage in North Carolina a possibility, the three of us were excited that they might not have to wait. However, because The United Methodist Church had taken my credentials of ordination in 1999 because I violated church law by conducting a wedding for two men, someone else would have to conduct the ceremony on the 18th for it to be legal.

On Wednesday, I returned home from an errand to find a message on our answering machine. Ken and Steve, and Michael and Mike, had called to ask if I would conduct a double wedding for them on November 15, should a federal judge declare North Carolina’s ban on same-gender marriage unconstitutional. I’ve known both couples for more than twenty years.  Ken and Steve have been together for twenty-eight years and Michael and Mike, for more than twelve. I couldn’t say no to them, and I really wanted to officiate at Joni and Gina’s wedding. But, I didn’t have the credentials.

It was deeply painful to me for many reasons when my credentials were taken away in 1999. Losing the ability to celebrate weddings with loving couples was an especially painful one. Without credentials, I could no longer pronounce a couple married or sign a marriage license. I agonized about what to do now that marriage equality was about to become a reality in North Carolina. I knew I could not regain my credentials from The United Methodist Church; so, I began to search for another way to get the credentials I needed. I discovered the American Marriage Ministries, a non-denominational interfaith church based in Washington State, and was able to obtain from it the necessary credentials to legally officiate weddings.

Friday evening, Chris and I were dressed to go to Durham for a production of The Phantom of the Opera, with our daughter, Natalia. It was late afternoon. We’d waited all day, anticipating an announcement regarding marriage equality in North Carolina. We’d been waiting all week for the announcement, which now seemed wouldn’t come until the following week.  Then the news broke a little before 6:00 PM that US District Court Judge Max Cogburn had declared that the North Carolina constitutional marriage amendment, denying same-gender couples the right to marry, was unconstitutional. When the amendment passed in 2012, the pain was excruciating. With the news of Judge Cogburn’s decision, the joy was extravagant! Dressed for the opera, we went down to the Wake County Justice Center where marriage licenses were being issued to same-gender couples. Phantom would have to wait.

As we approached the Justice Center entrance, we were surprised to find Ken and Steve walking just ahead of us. They were preparing to grill hamburgers when they heard the news. Even though they planned a November wedding and had plenty of time to get their license, they couldn’t wait. The day was too historic not to be part of. They left the hamburgers and hurried to the Justice Center. When Ken and Steve saw us, they immediately asked if I’d officiate their wedding as soon as they got their license instead of waiting so it would be legal right away. I enthusiastically agreed. And, so it happened: on the steps of the Wake County Justice Center, with Chris and Lewie Wells as witnesses, Ken and Steve spoke vows of love and fidelity to each other and I pronounced them married! This was the first legal marriage I’ve been able to do since 1999. Ken and Steve still plan to have their ceremony on November 15 for their families and friends, along with Michael and Mike. Now, I look forward to officiating at the marriage of Joni and Gina on October 18.

Chris and I went to the Justice Center to witness history and to be with the same-gender loving couples who had waited so long to enjoy the rights and protections – and respect – that marriage provides. It was an extraordinary scene, filled with laughter, smiles and tears! Ms. Laura Riddick, the Wake County Register of Deeds, graciously extended the hours of her office from its usual closing time of 5:15 to 9:00 PM to accommodate the couples. Her staff was fantastic, greeting the couples with smiles and patiently guiding them through the application process with sincere kindness. One staff person left her station to bring me a tissue so I could dry the tears from my eyes as I watched Ken and Steve fill out the marriage license application.

I’ve never doubted marriage equality would come to North Carolina, as it will come eventually to all fifty states. I just didn’t expect it to come so swiftly and in such a dramatically surprising way. It was ironic, with all the religion-based arguments in support of the NC marriage amendment, that the case upon which Judge Cogburn’s decision was based was a lawsuit brought by the United Church of Christ and other clergy from around the state. They argued that the marriage amendment denied them the free exercise of religion because it denied them the ability to conduct marriage ceremonies for same-gender couples. Not only did the amendment deny the right of same-gender couples to marry in North Carolina and legal recognition to couples married in other states, the amendment made conducting same-gender marriages a punishable illegal act for clergy.

Beyond being history-making, the advent of marriage equality in North Carolina inaugurates a reality of stability, security and protection for same-gender couples heretofore unknown on a personal level. Last night, I saw same-gender couples leaving the Justice Center, walking toward the heart of Raleigh holding hands with a newfound sense of freedom, equality and dignity. Bigotry dies hard and much more work is necessary to achieve full legal equality and social acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. A big step was taken in North Carolina toward its ultimate demise on Friday, October 10, 2014. We can celebrate!

Call for Papers: Archives and Archiving, a special issue of TSQ

Ddtsq_1_3This issue of TSQ will investigate practical and theoretical dimensions of archiving transgender phenomena and will ask what constitutes “trans* archives” or “trans* archival practices.”

While transgender-related experiences have long been captured by archives to some extent, the last few decades have witnessed an increased commitment to collecting trans* materials. Consequently, sizable trans* collections can now be found in a range of institutional contexts including grassroots archives, nonprofit organizations, and university-based collections.

Given this trend, myriad practical considerations that trans* materials present for archiving warrant further attention. What should or should not be included in trans* archives? What are the best practices for acquiring, processing, preserving, and making transgender materials accessible? Given practical limitations of space and money, how do we decide what to prioritize? And who decides? What are the implications for history when archivists make such decisions? How should archives negotiate ethical concerns specific to trans* archives? What relationship—if any—do trans* materials have to broader LGBTQ collections? What cataloguing tools are available and how do they obscure, distort, or make meaning of the lived experiences of trans* people? What are the benefits and limitations of using “transgender” or “trans*” as umbrella terms in an archival context? How are archivists and archival practices changed by the challenges of dealing with trans* materials? What role can digital technologies play in collecting and accessing trans* materials, particularly born-digital materials?

These practical considerations would be incomplete without a closely related theoretical exploration of trans* archiving. How, for example, are bodies representable (or unrepresentable) through archival documents? How can embodiment itself be considered an archive of memory and feeling, a sedimentation of social practices, a living medium for the transmission of cultural forms? What power do archives have in shaping popular understandings of transgender phenomena? How are researchers affected by their encounters with archival materials? How do archives steer researchers in particular ways with metadata, organizational systems, and finding aids? Can archives help construct community and personal identity? Does digitization inherently change trans* historical artifacts?

We welcome submissions of full-length academic articles on a wide range of topics related to trans* archives and archiving. Such topics might include:

• practical and philosophical considerations for developing transgender collections independently or within broader archives
• how transgender archival materials intersect with and depart from LGBQ archival materials
• critical reflections on working in trans* archives and/or with trans* archival materials
• sex, desire, and pornographic collections
• considerations of the body within and as represented by archives
• understandings of embodiment itself as an archive of affects, memory, practices, and social forms
• capturing lived experiences with archival artifacts and ephemera
• recontextualizing historical materials within the context of the archive
• affective encounters
• ethics of historical representation
• archival temporality and considerations of time and timeliness
• the role of archivists
• institutionality of government, state, academic, non-profit, and grassroots collections
• processing and interpreting trans*-related materials
• hidden collections
• archival language practices, cataloguing, and classification
• digital technologies within archives, digital archiving, and archiving born-digital materials
• intersectional identities
• access and accessibility
• archival activism

We will also consider for publication shorter essays, opinion pieces, first-person accounts, practical advice, how-to guides, or interesting archival documents. We encourage contributions from a wide range of authors including academics, independent researchers, archivists, and activists.

Please send a complete manuscript by October 15, 2014 to tsqjournal[at]gmail[dot]com along with a brief bio including name and any institutional affiliation. The expected length for scholarly articles is 5,000 to 7,000 words, and 1,000 to 2,000 words for shorter works. All manuscripts should be prepared for anonymous peer review. For articles engaging in scholarly citation, please use the Chicago author-date citation style. Any questions should be addressed by e-mail to both guest editors for the issue: Aaron Devor (ahdevor[at]uvic[dot]ca) and K.J. Rawson (kjrawson[at]holycross[dot]edu). We plan to respond to submissions by early January 2015. Final revisions will be due by March 1, 2015.

TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly is co-edited by Paisley Currah and Susan Stryker, and published by Duke University Press, with editorial offices at the University of Arizona’s Institute for LGBT Studies. TSQ aims to be the journal of record for the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies and to promote the widest possible range of perspectives on transgender phenomena broadly defined. Every issue of TSQ is a specially themed issue that also contains regularly recurring features such as reviews, interviews, and opinion pieces.

To learn more about the journal and see calls for papers for other issues, click here. For information about subscriptions, click here.