- This Group was organized by three pittbsurgh transpeople. A statement from the facilitators is at the bottom of the syllabus
- Week 1 (Jan. 30): Introductions
- Introducing some terms & concepts for discussion.
- Julia Serano, “Trans Woman Manifesto,” “Coming to Terms with Transgenderism and Transsexuality,” Whipping Girl (2006).
- Emi Koyama, “The Transfeminist Manifesto” (2001).
- Week 2 (Feb. 6): Media Representations | Cissexual Privilege
- Critically examining pop culture and media representations of trans people. Name & explain cissexual privilege.
- Julia Serano, “Skirt Chasers: Why the Media Depicts the Trans Revolution in Lipstick and Heels,” Whipping Girl (2006).
- Shana Agid, “When We Became Normal: Transgender People in Pop Culture and the Politics of Normalcy,” Clamor Fall 2006.
- Julia Serano, “Dismantling Cissexual Privilege,” Whipping Girl (2006).
- We will be breaking into groups to analyze media coverage. Please read/listen to at least one of the following:
- Sportswriter Embarks on New Life as a Woman NPR 15 August 2007
- Optional: Letter in response to NPR’s transphobic coverage involving Dean Spade (2002)
- Week 3 (Feb. 13): History of trans activism in the US | ENDA
- Trans & gender transgressive led rebellions of the 1960’s. Reaction to the removal of trans people from the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed in the House.
- Movie: Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria (57 min)
- Monica Roberts, Wait Your Turn? TransGriot (29 Sept. 2007)
- Monica Roberts, America’s NEVER Ready To Expand Rights TransGriot (15 Jan. 2008)
- Monica Roberts, Welcome to Minority Status TransGriot (8 Nov. 2006)
- Sylvia Rivera, “I’m glad I was in the Stonewall riot,” in Trans Liberation by Leslie Feinberg (1998).
- Shannon Price Minter, “Do Transsexuals Dream of Gay Rights? Getting Real about Transgender Inclusion,” Transgender Rights (2006).
- If pressed for time, focus on the section “From Gender Inversion to Sexual Object Choice: The Class- and Race-Based Origins of Modern Gay Identity” p 147-150.
- Optional (great if you miss the movie): Susan Stryker, “Roots of the Transgender Movement: The 1966 Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria,” Critical Moment no. 12 (2005).
- Week 4 (Feb. 20): Intersections of transgender issues, racism, and resistance
- Racial disparities among trans people & an example of resistance.
- Daisy Hernandez, “Becoming a Black Man,” ColorLines Jan/Feb 2008.
- Ellen Marie Hinchcliffe, “I Will Always Be Your Daughter, I Will Always Be Your Son: an overdue conversation with writer, filmmaker, and auto mechanic Juma Blythe Essie,” Clamor, Fall (2006).
- Yosenio Lewis, “How Race Inter-plays with Trans,” F.O.R.G.E. Newsletter, 15 April 2000.
- Sel Julian Hwahng, “Racial marginalization among MTFs,” Latin-American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights report, 13 Feb 2007.
- Michelle O’Brien, “Stayin’ Alive: Trans Survival and Struggle on the Streets of Philadelphia,” That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, edited by Mattilda a.k.a. Matt Bernstein Sycamore (2004).
- Optional: Jolee Galloza, “A Brief Intro/The Heart of the Matter: One TG Latino Perspective,” F.O.R.G.E. Newsletter, 15 April 2000.
- Week 5 (Feb 27): Bathroom Access *public showing, not in our usual meeting place*
- Problems created by sex-segretated bathrooms.
- movie: Toilet Training (30 min), meet at the Graduate School of Public Health (Parran Hall), Fifth Ave between DeSoto St. & N. Bouquet St., G-23 Auditorium, 7-9 PM
- Followed by a discussion
- Watch the opening scenes from Toilet Training
- Want to help spread the word? Please post the flyer.
- No readings to discuss this week, but start on the readings for week 6 because there are more than normal.
- Film: Toilet Training Pittsburgh City Paper
- Students discuss transgender issues CMU Pillbox
- Week 6 (March 5): Colonization/decolonization, genocide, and Two-Spirit/trans oppression
- The effects of colonization on First Nations people’s sexualities & the resistance.
- Qwo-Li Driskill, “Stolen From Our Bodies: First Nations Two-Spirits/Queers and the Journey to a Soverign Erotic,” Sail, Summer 2004, Vol. 16, No 2: pages 50-64.
- Andrea Smith, “Sexual Violence as a Tool of Genocide,” Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide (2005).
- Gary Bowen, “An entire rainbow of possibilities,” in Trans Liberation by Leslie Feinberg (1998).
- Katrina Roen, “Transgender Theory and Embodiment The Risk of Racial Marginalization,” in The Transgender Studies Reader edited by Susan Stryker and Stephen Whittle (2006).
- Week 7 (March 12): Stealth and “Passing” | Trans In/Exclusion
- Double bind facing trans people regarding disclosing one’s trans status. The inclusion of trans people in sex segregated spaces.
- suki valentine, “The More Props You Have, The More Props You Get: Musings on Invisible Disabilities, Queerness, Internalized Oppression And The Problems With “Passing,” Scars Tell Stories: A Queer and Trans (Dis)ability Zine edited by Colin Kennedy Donovan & Qwo-Li Driskill
- Optional: Talia Mae Bettcher, “Evil Deceivers and Make-Believers: On Transphobic Violence and the Politics of Illusion,” Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Summer 2007, Vol. 22, No. 3: pages 43-65.Talia Mae Bettcher, “Evil Deceivers and Make-Believers: On Transphobic Violence and the Politics of Illusion,” Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Summer 2007, Vol. 22, No. 3: pages 43-65.
- Emi Koyama, “Whose Feminism Is It Anyway? The Unspoken Racism of the Trans Inclusion Debate,” in The Transgender Studies Reader edited by Susan Stryker and Stephen Whittle (2006).
- Jack, “Ain’t I a Woman/Womyn/Wimmin?” Angry Brown Butch, 22 June 2006.
- Zak Szymanski, “Leather community debates trans exclusion at upcoming contest,” Bay Area Reporter 19 Jan 2006.
- Week 8 (March 19): Mixed Consciousness | Intersectional trans activism
- Trans activism that prioritizes those most affected by multiple systems of oppression.
- Nico Dacumos, “All Mixed Up With No Place To Go: Inhabiting Mixed Consciousness on the Margins,” Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity, edited by Mattilda a.k.a. Matt Bernstein Sycamore (2006).
- Dean Spade, “Compliance is Gendered: Struggling for Gender Self-Determination in a Hostile Economy,” Transgender Rights, edited by Paisley Currah, Richard M. Juang, and Shannon Price Minter (2006).
- March 26: No meeting so that folks can attend Kate Bornstein Performance
- Kate Bornstein Performance (sponsored by University of Pittsburgh’s Women’s Studies Program)
8:45 PM at the Cathedral of Learning Room G8
- Week 9 (April 2): Identity & Institutions | Prostitution
- The history of the criminalization of transsexuals, a critique of identity-based politics, critiques of FTM/white/middle-class trans activism.
- Viviane Namaste, “Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions,” Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions, and Imperialism (2005).
- “Statement for Social Service Agencies and Transsexual/Transgender Organizations on Service Delivery to Transsexual and Transvestite Prostitutes,” Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions, and Imperialism (2005).
- Viviane Namaste, “Interview with Mirha-Soleil Ross,” Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions, and Imperialism (2005).
- Week 10 (April 9): Trans people and the prison industrial complex
- Trans people disproportinately end up in prison. Transsexual women are often forced to be in men’s prisons.
- Movie: Cruel and Unusual (64 min), William Pitt Union (Fifth Ave & Bigelow Blvd.), Dining Room B, 7-9 PM
- Cruel and Unusual trailer
- Jessica Stern, “Transforming Justice,” Left Turn Jan/Feb 2008
- Recommended: “Violence against Transgender People in Prison,” Rustbelt Radio 7 January 2008 (link to the MP3 audio is at top of page, report starts at 20:58)
- Please be gentle with us and each other and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. We have a lot of other things going on in our lives, and this has taken a lot of effort to organize. This is the first time we’ve done this group, and it was organized from scratch. We’ve done our best to prioritize issues and reading materials we think are important in the limited time we have. If we have not included something, we may simply not know about it, so please feel free to suggest things.
- There are lots of different power dynamics in the room. There are people of different races, sexes, classes, religions, abilities and so on. Trans and cisgender is not the only dynamic that is going on. These are all important things to be aware of. We will do our best to create a space that feels good for everyone, but in order to do that, sometimes you might feel uncomfortable if some aspect of your privilege is challenged. But this is a responsibility that is shared by everyone, especially since we may not be aware of when something problematic is happening in the room. So we hope that everyone will feel empowered to point out things that are racist, classist, sexist, abelist and so forth and not simply let this burden fall on those experiencing the oppression.
- Recognize when you might be backlashing. Backlash is a defensive reaction when people’s privileges are pointed out or challenged. It can take many forms including an uncomfortable feeling, denial, dismissiveness, anger, or an insistence that one “didn’t mean it that way.” If you feel the urge to challenge something someone has said, try to check first to see if you are reacting defensively.
- It’s a privilege to be here exploring these materials. Information about trans people is often hidden from everyone, including trans people. It is locked away in academic libraries and in expensive videos. Not all trans people have access to this material. If you leave here and encounter people—both cisgender and transgender—who may not have thought about some of the things we’ll be discussing here, keep in mind that they may not have had access to this material. We hope that you will share the resources rather than dismissing or criticizing them for what you may perceive as ignorance. This is particularly important if you are cisgender and the person you might be inclined to criticize is trans.
- Recognize that it’s different for cisgender and transgender people to participate in this group. A stealth trans person may have to hide the fact that they are attending at all. A trans person may feel self-conscious sitting in a public space and reading about trans issues in a way that gender typical cisgender people may not. Perhaps most importantly, many trans person think about being trans all the time. Taking additional time to focus on trans issues and having to read about the oppression of trans people can be emotionally taxing. There are plenty of trans people who are probably not even in this room because of issues such as these.
- It is not the responsibility of transgender people to educate cisgender people. Recounting experiencing transphobia can be cathartic and also be like experiencing it all over again, which is why trans people should not be forced to share such stories. Similarly, there should not be a different standard applied to trans people when it comes to asking about gentials, medical procedures, or sex lives.
- If a term is used that you do not understand, please feel free to ask for a definition, but be aware of the difference between simply saying “I don’t understand” and refusing to acknowledge concepts that you disagree with or challenging someone else’s experience.
Why we do names & pronouns
When we go around at the beginning to check in, state your name and the pronouns you prefer, or state that you have no preference or that you prefer no pronouns be used. You can change your name or pronoun at any time.
We do this because you can’t tell someone’s pronoun by looking at them.
- Please use the pronoun people request. If you mess up, correct yourself.
- Some people think no one should ever use pronouns, but at the same time many people find being referred to by the pronoun of their choice empowering.
- Please avoid using unnecessarily gendered language—referring to all people (not just trans people) as “people” rather than men and women is a good place to start.
Ground Rules (as determined at the first meeting)
Confidentiality – you may not tell others who attends or share people’s personal stories. General information may be shared. You can always ask an individual for specific permission to share their story.
Do not assume that just because someone is out in the room, they are openly trans elsewhere, so do not out anyone as trans. Always ask for permission to share contact info.
Do not acknowledge other people if you run into them elsewhere other than perhaps making eye contact. If you need to explain how you know someone one, saying they are a friend of a friend is always an option.
People will raise their hands & the facilitators will take stack.
Notice if you are talking a lot and step back. If you have things you want to say, step up.