Caring in times of crises: lessons from COVID-19 for transgender futures

Authors: Magdalena Rodekirchen*,
Topics: Queer and Trans Geographies, Environmental Justice, Feminist Geographies
Keywords: climate change, transgender, queer ecology, feminist political economy, ecofeminism
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 44
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Quickly dubbed the biggest challenge in 100 years, the pandemic might only provide a taste of a future shaped by climate change. So, what can we learn from this current crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, for addressing and coping with the unfolding crisis of climate emergency? Where it has already become apparent that the impacts of the pandemic are felt differently along classed, racialized, gendered, differently abled and aged axes, very little can be found on the specific impacts on transgender and gender non-conforming people. This paper asks what justice-oriented lessons for transgender people and environments can be learned from COVID-19 for a future shaped by climate change. In what ways have pre-existing inequalities been exacerbated by this crisis – and what insights from the pandemic can contribute to building more resilient, trans-inclusive communities for sustainable futures? To provide a preliminary answer to this question, I suggest bringing into conversation the concept of social infrastructures with insights from queer ecology, ecofeminist care ethics, and ecofeminist political economy. In doing so, this paper highlights the role of reproduction, especially invisible reproductive labour done by transgender and gender non-conforming people as well as more-than-human environments, and the centrality of care for building more resilient trans-inclusive communities. I argue that recent work on social infrastructures that reconceptualizes social reproduction as infrastructural (Hall, 2020) provides a flexible, constructive framework conducive to “queering” and a fruitful starting point for geographers to ask both questions of transgender justice and of justice in times of multiple crises.

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