Trans/Formations: Ethics and Politics in Contemporary Trans Medicine and Healthcare

3 Apr 2012
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Wurster 102

Event Type
Special Event

The provision of and access to health and medical care specifically for transgender and transsexual people in the United States has increased considerably over the last decade. The growing awareness of the needs of the trans- population has resulted in a proliferation of medical regimes and the establishment of new forms of care. This panel brings together three scholars working on different contemporary issues in trans medicine and healthcare.


Eric Plemons (Berkeley Department of Anthropology, CSSC Fellow)

The Compassion and Compulsion of Trans-Surgery

This paper examines how the market that mediates between trans- patients and the few surgeons in the United States who specialize in trans-specific surgeries is negotiated in both financial and ethical terms. Putatively distinct from economic considerations, it is within these ethical terms that the surgeons’ acts of technical precision are fashioned as acts of “compassion and “good will” among a population for which such good will is consistently framed a scarcity. I explore how the ethical relationship between surgeons and patients is impacted by two haunting figures: the persistent threat of trans- suicide, and the incredible sums of money paid from patient to surgeon that makes their relationship possible.

Tey Meadow (Princeton University, Princeton Society of Fellows)

Persisters, Desisters and Regretters: The New Science of Childhood Gender Nonconformity

As pediatric endocrinologists begin to treat transgender children with puberty inhibiting hormones, a new set of questions and a new toolkit of methodologies for answering them is gaining traction in psychiatry. The uncertainty and sense of urgency described by both the parents of gender nonconforming children and their physicians leads them to collaborate on research endeavors whose goal is find stable ways to identify, mark and predict the future gender identities of these children. In this talk, I will describe the motivations for a new research agenda into childhood gender, the typology of adult gender outcomes it has yielded, and the development by psychiatrists of a fascinating array of new standardized measures for gender.

Chris Roebuck (Berkeley/UCSF Joint Program in Medical Anthropology)

From Confession to Triage

This paper, based on long-term ethnographic research, describes how the AIDS crisis in San Francisco made visible a long-standing crisis in trans health and instigated a new logics of healthcare provision, leading to the establishment of the first primary care and hormonal treatment program for trans people in the U.S. The paper argues that the “TG Clinic” is a pioneering bioethical form that has radically transformed how gender variance is understood within medical discourse, how healthcare is provided, and how gendered bodily-being might be cultivated.

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Center for the Study of Sexual Culture • Gender Equity Resource Center
Gender Equity Resource Center

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