Fact or Fiction?

From our readings this week, “Do These Earrings Make Me Look Bad?” by Kate Nobles was eye opening for me.  With society ever so changing before progression can catch up, Nobles discusses the importance of research in the academy.  In a gender studies perspective, many times the research of gender and specifically transgender, is misguided by the representation of the researcher as an outsider.  The research of gender studies as Nobles mentions is that many times it is performed by “cissexual gendertheorists” who ultimately decide our society’s “gender orthodoxy.” The thing with research though is that its valuable to have primary sources and as Nobles points out about transgender studies is that she is a valid primary account and it goes unnoticed because she does not have the “academic credentials” which doesn’t allow her to speak on the matter even though the research is of her gender.  I think its absolutely ridiculous not to include trans perspective in gender studies because how we supposed to progress on matters that are vital to individuals.  Improving the research done in the academy would lead to progression with transgender studies.  This research could include medical improvements for trans people, equality and improve society’s view on trans people.  If the person  who lives the life of whats being researched has a voice in the matter then other people can relate more to it.  This piece made me more aware of how skewed the academy is and how not diverse it is.  Its unfair for people who do not have the academic credentials but the experience that is important in the progression of the research.

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6 thoughts on “Fact or Fiction?

  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly regarding this subject. I have never been to South Africa but I have watched documentaries on it. My RA is from South Africa. Who would you rather ask to educate you on the topic of South Africa? The answer is evident and should also be in terms of trans studies. No one can know what the trans community is experiencing unless each experience is told from the perspective of a trans person. This also allows other members of the trans community to relate to each other and know that what they are going through is similar to what the whole community has experienced, not trying to relate to a depiction a cis gender person has created.

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  2. Hello,

    This is a really great post. I agree with what you said 100%. As a black woman I personally would relate how Nobles feels about her situation, to how I would feel if a white, African American studies scholar told me what is was like to be an African American. I mean I clearly wouldn’t need to major in African American studies to know first hand what is like to be an African American, or to speak about the oppression I and many other black Americans face. Furthermore, Nobles wouldn’t have to be a gender studies major to be knowledgeable on being transgendered. Moving on, personally I would think it would be very dull in a gender studies class to not only discuss women and men, but also the in-between genders and transgendered men and transgendered women.

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  3. I agree that the lack of trans people’s perspectives on gender in the academic world is a problem, and would like to point out that this lack has historically caused actual damage to the trans community. Until relatively recently in the United States, medical care for trans people was based almost entirely on trans people’s ability to live up to cisgender medical professionals and researchers’ extremely narrow standards of “correct” gender presentation and behavior. Harmful theories such as sexologist Ray Blanchard’s notion of autogynephilia were developed and put forward without trans people’s input and in many cases used to delegitimize certain categories of trans experience (in the case of autogynephilia, female-attracted trans women). Only recently are trans people gaining a larger say in their academic and medical treatment, resulting in the development of practices such as the informed-consent model of trans medical care.

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  4. I think its really important to include a trans perspective in gender studies research. I think it is also important to include a non binary perspective in the discussion and research. As gender is represented on a spectrum, research should include people scattered across the spectrum with all different types of identities. The more diverse perspectives incorporated the more complete the research will be. That being said I do think the people who participate in research should have the academic credentials to do so. There are people with all types of gender identities who also have academic credentials and those are the people who should be conducting the research. The study of gender studies is more inclusive and informative then one experience, so I think its important to remember that the real sweet spot for this research is a combination of experience and study.

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  5. After reading your post, I couldn’t help but agree with everything you said. It makes much more sense to learn about the LGBTQ community from people who actually are a part of the community then to read it from a text book. Although reading about it can also be helpful, I feel as though those who participate in LGBTQ community are the ones experiencing it first hand, therefore, would you not want a primary source of knowledge about what they go through and experience ever day of their lives? That’s like asking a world renown chef to take a cooking class taught by a home eke teacher… it just wouldn’t be very beneficial considering the chef knows everything there is to know already. Overall, I really enjoyed reading your topic.

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  6. I cannot agree more. Not including the experiences of trans individuals in the conversation of gender studies is similar to not including the experiences of black, Asian, and Hispanic individuals in the discussion of racial issues. While a trans individual may not possess a degree in Gender Studies, I believe that having lived the experience of a trans individual is a form of education on the matter. The experiences of these individuals is unique and some things cannot be studied from an outside perspective because many things in a trans individual’s experience happen behind closed doors. Including trans individuals in the academic conversation of Gender Studies helps everyone else discover more about the trans experience and gain insight regarding the hardships of being trans. Having trans individuals in the conversation can only add to the depth of knowledge at hand.

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