Historical geographies of trans care practices in the United States

Authors: Theodore Davenport*, University of Washington
Topics: Gender
Keywords: transgender, care geographies, feminist geography
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 31
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Feminist geographers have emphasized how care is mutidirectional, place-based, and gendered. However, very little work currently exists at the intersection of trans geographies and care ethics. This exploratory paper draws from my in-progress master’s thesis to better understand the care geographies of trans and gender variant people in the United States. I ask: 1) How have US-based trans and gender nonconforming people engaged with care practices from the mid-twentieth century to 2019? How are these practices spatialized? 2) How do trans subjectivities transform theorizations of care?

I evaluate 25 oral histories from the New York City Trans Oral History Project, one of the largest trans oral history community archives in the United States, to analyze the relationship between geographies of care and historical geographies of trans experiences in the United States from the mid-twentieth century to today. My coding focuses on how interviewees describe their experiences with traditional institutions of care and where they have found support in relation to trans identity and subjectivity. This paper will discuss findings, including activism as a fraught form of care, digital trans geographies, and the importance of physical queer and trans spaces. This paper thus builds on and contributes to feminist geographic scholarship by theoretically and empirically expanding the gendering of care beyond a cisgender, binary framework.

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