25 October 2018
To UA trans students, staff, faculty, and community members:
As a group of trans scholars, we, the Trans Studies Initiative, feel and understand the weight of the recently leaked proposed changes to federal policy around the definition of gender. While this is not yet policy, we recognize it as another manifestation of a politics of devastation by which the Trump administration is intent on eradicating trans people from public life. This move toward eradication is part of a larger attack on various vulnerable and disenfranchised communities, as well as those among us with multiple marginalized identities. Thus, we cannot miss how this latest attack—nor any that have come before it—have broader impacts across populations, and are intended to further harm to many of us.
The administration’s stated aim to define gender “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable” is one that renders the citizenship of trans and intersex people revocable, and our bodies impossible. The proposed policy is so demonstrably impracticable that it is clearly not meant to be a policy at all. Instead, it is yet another terrorizing gesture that the fact of our existence is an offense. We know better. We also know that while this is a hard moment, it is one in a series of similar challenges to the humanity of trans and intersex people, and our many allied oppressed communities, and we know it will likely not be the last.
As trans legal scholar Dean Spade has reminded us, while there are many questions yet to be answered by the leaked memo regarding policy changes, “even the rumors of such a policy will be enough to stir increased transphobic action by low-level staff and bureaucrats at shelters, welfare offices, DMVs, schools and other places where people have the power to make trans peoples’ lives difficult and dangerous.” We also know, as various trans activists, scholars, artists, and people have stated, that this sort of federal threat is not new for us. We have long been targeted by state sponsored violence, and have remained irrepressible regardless. We have always come together to forge lives and communities, and have learned from the legacies of trans women of color, as well as the various interconnected movements for social justice such as the Disability Rights Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Movement for Black Lives, Trans Queer Pueblo, and Spoken Futures, Inc., how to continue in the face of adversity. This is a trying time, to be sure, and we will continue to protect, love, support, and honor each other as trans and intersex people. As Black trans activist CeCe McDonald has stated, in the midst of state-supported violence such as what we are experiencing now, it is we who protect each other and keep each other safe.
In the spirit of protecting each other and keeping each other safe, we would like to remind you of the resources available in our community. Should you feel the need to reach out, we urge you to do so. Simply put: we care about each of you, and want to see you thrive. These resources are just one way to ensure you continue to do so:
- Trans Lifeline (www.translifeline.org): (877) 565.8860
- The Trevor Project (https://thetrevorproject.org): (866) 488.7386
- Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (www.sagatucson.org): (520) 477.7096
- African American Student Affairs (https://aasa.arizona.edu): (520) 621.3419
- Asian Pacific American Student Affairs (https://apasa.arizona.edu): (520) 621.3481
- Adalberto & Ana Guerrero Student Center (https://chsa.arizona.edu): (520) 621.5627 • Disability Resource Center (https://drc.arizona.edu): (520) 621.3268
- Immigrant Student Resource Center (https://eao.arizona.edu/isrc): (520) 626.2300
- Institute for LGBT Studies (https://lgbt.arizona.edu): (520) 626.3431
- LGBTQ Affairs (https://lgbtq.arizona.edu): (520) 621.7585
- Native American Student Affairs (https://nasa.arizona.edu): (520) 621.3835
- Women & Gender Resource Center (https://wrc.arizona.edu): (520) 621.4498
- LGBTQ Addiction Resources (https://addiction-counselor.org/lgbtq-resource/)
Additionally, we find it particularly important to focus energy and resources toward trans liberation work being done in our local community in Tucson. Should you like and be able to show your support for local organizations organizing around trans liberation, we would encourage donating to the following organizations:
- Camp Born This Way (https://tinyurl.com/yc8dlglw) • Mariposa Sin Fronteras (https://tinyurl.com/ycgc77en)
- Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (https://tinyurl.com/y7fafgfd) • Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (https://tinyurl.com/yb868zrd)
- Spoken Futures, Inc. (https://tinyurl.com/ybro7s2o) • Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th (https://tinyurl.com/ycyaomg6)
- Trans Queer Pueblo (https://tinyurl.com/y9vramh7)
We know this is a difficult time. We care about you. We are fighting right alongside of you. Please continue to be safe, and protect and support each other. Our community is stronger together.
Francisco Galarte, Assistant Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies
Eva Hayward, Assistant Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies
Yv Nay, Postdoctoral Fellow, Gender and Women’s Studies
Z Nicolazzo, Assistant Professor, Educational Policy Studies and Practice
Eric Plemons, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Max Strassfeld, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies
Susan Stryker, Associate Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies
TC Tolbert, Lecturer, English and Tucson Poet Laureate
Russell Toomey, Associate Professor, Family Studies and Human Development
"Transgender studies promises to make a significant intellectual and political intervention into contemporary knowledge production in much the same manner that queer theory did twenty years ago. [...] Studying transgender issues is both worthwhile and substantive in its own right and also of significant interest for what it can teach about the broader conditions of life."
- Susan Stryker and Paisley Currah, "Introduction," TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Vol. 1, Issue 1-2.
More than a journal or a conference, the Transgender Studies Initiative (TSI) at the University of Arizona's Institute for LGBT Studies seeks to support, encourage, and promote trans studies - both at the University of Arizona and elsewhere. Working with professors, researchers, and students across disciplines and borders, we develop resources, programming, and exchanges of information. Our TSI faculty, including 6 professors in 4 different departments, teach courses at undergraduate and graduate levels while publishing and presenting research which challenges the limits of trans studies. At the same time, the TSI strives to link the University's transgender studies faculty with a global network of researchers, activists, and artists through TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly (Duke Press) and the Trans*Studies Conference.
Selected Publications, Presentations, and Exhibitions by TSI Faculty
Galarte, F. (2014). On Trans* Chican@s: Amor, Justicia, y Dignidad. Aztlán, 39(1), 229-236.
Hayward, E. and Weinstein, J. (2015). Introduction: Tranimalities in the Age of Trans* Life. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, 2(2), 195-208. http://tsq.dukejournals.org/content/2/2/195.short
Zeveloff, N., Dzmura, N., Strassfeld, M., Seltzer, S., Fornari, A.L., Ladin, J. (2014). Transgender & Jewish. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. https://www.amazon.com/Transgender-Jewish-Naomi-Zeveloff
Plemons, E. (2015). Anatomical Authorities: On the Epistemological Exclusion of Trans-Surgical Patients. Medical Anthropology, 34, 425-441. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01459740.2015.1036264?scroll=top&needAccess=true
Stryker, S. (2015). Transing the Queer (In)Human. GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, 21(2-3), 227-230. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/582036/summary
Toomey, R., Huynh, V.W., Jones, S. K., Lee, S., & Revels-Macalinao, M. (2016). Sexual minority youth of color: A content analysis and critical review of the literature. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 1-29. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19359705.2016.1217499?scroll=top&needAccess=true