Today we’re honoring Trans Day of Visibility, an international holiday dedicated both to celebrating trans and gender-nonconforming people and to raising awareness of the discrimination they face.
We’re pleased to share the important work of trans studies scholars by highlighting these recent special issues of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. The introductions to each issue are freely available.
Leah DeVun and Zeb Tortorici, issue editors
This issue offers a theoretical and methodological imagining of what constitutes trans* before the advent of the terms that scholars generally look to for the formation of modern conceptions of gender, sex, and sexuality. What might we find if we look for trans* before trans*? While some historians have rejected the category of transgender to speak of experiences before the mid-twentieth century, others have laid claim to those living gender-non-conforming lives before our contemporary era. By using the concept of trans*historicity, this volume draws together trans* studies, historical inquiry, and queer temporality while also emphasizing the historical specificity and variability of gendered systems of embodiment in different time periods.
Howard H. Chiang, Todd A. Henry, and Helen Hok-Sze Leung, issue editors
Since the late twentieth century, scholars and activists have begun to take stock of the deep histories and politically engaged nature of trans* cultures across the diverse societies of “Asia.” Much of this groundbreaking work has cautioned against immediate assumptions about the universality of transgender experiences, while heeding the significant influence of colonial histories, cultural imperialism, Cold War dynamics, economic integration, and migration practices in shaping local categories of queerness, discourses of rights, as well as the political, social, and medical management of gender variance and non-normative sexualities. This growing body of work on Asia joins trans* scholarship and activism across the world that has similarly sought to de-universalize and decolonize the category of “trans.”
Eric Plemons and Chris Straayer, issue editors
Trans* surgery has been an object of fantasy, derision, refusal, and triumph. Contributors to this issue explore the vital and contested place of surgical intervention in the making of trans* bodies, theories, and practices. For decades, clinicians considered a desire for reconstructive genital surgery to be the linchpin of the transsexual diagnosis. In the 1990s, new histories of trans* clinical practice challenged the institutional claim that transsexuals all wanted genital surgery, and trans* authors began to argue for their surgically altered bodies as sites of power rather than capitulation. Subsequent contestations of the medico-surgical framework helped mark the emergence of “transgender” as an alternative, more inclusive term for gender-nonconforming subjects who were sometimes less concerned with surgical intervention.
Contributors move beyond medical issue to engage “the surgical” in its many forms, exploring how trans* surgery has been construed and presented across different discursive forms and how these representations of trans* surgeries have helped and/or limited understanding of trans* identities and bodies and shaped the evolution of trans* politics.
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