The readings for Weeks 6-7 include historical/scholarly articles about trans history, as well as primary source documents in which trans and non-binary people describe their experiences transitioning or living trans lives under intensely hostile, transphobic conditions. Using the readings this week, explore some of the varieties of trans people’s experiences with identity and community in order to consider the following broad questions. These are broad, open-ended questions designed to get you to think. You do not need to answer all these questions, and these are not the ONLY questions you can raise here:
- To what extent has trans history been too narrowly understood as a medical history? How can we account for the importance of medical technology while also thinking about trans people who have been neglected and/or abused by medical institutions, as well as the experiences of trans people who have never gone through medically supervised and controlled transitions?
- How did trans people stake out identities and communities that were separate from drag performers, and how did drag performers respond to tans people who worked (or who had previously worked) as drag performers?
- How were trans identities shaped by gender and class norms? Did working-class and BIPOC trans people experience transphobia and discrimination that was unique? Were white and/or middle-class or “respectable” trans people aware of the dynamics of race and class?
Goals and requirements
Create an original thread, and respond to another classmate’s original thread by fulfilling these requirements.
In addition to analyzing trans history, this week’s discussion board will also focus on framing questions, comments, and arguments by analyzing, and distinguishing, between scholarly and primary sources. As you create original threads, write at least 200 words.
Use the author’s name and the title of the reading to show that you are using either a scholarly or primary source, and, in your analysis, try to show how interpreting scholarly articles—written by historians and other scholars after observation and data-gathering—can tell us something different than first-hand accounts (primary sources). You may use any readings from the course, including any helpful readings from the first few weeks of classes—particularly readings that discuss trans history—but you must use at least one primary and one scholarly source from Weeks 6-7.