As a relatively new social category, the very notion of a “transgender population” poses numerous intellectual, political, and technical challenges. Who gets to define what transgender is, or who is transgender? How are trans people counted—and by whom and for whom are they enumerated? Why is counting transgender members of a population seen as making that population’s government accountable to those individuals? What is at stake in “making transgender count”—and how might this process vary in different national, linguistic, or cultural contexts?
This issue of TSQ seeks to present a range of approaches to these challenges—everything from analyses that generate more effective and inclusive ways to measure and count gender identity and/or transgender persons, to critical perspectives on quantitative methodologies and the politics of what Ian Hacking has called “making up people.”
In many countries, large-scale national health surveys provide data that policy-makers rely on to monitor the health of the populations they oversee, and to make decisions about the allocation of resources to particular groups and regions—yet transgender people remain invisible in most such data collection projects. When administrative gender is conceived as a male/female binary determined by the sex assigned at birth, the structure, and very existence, of trans sub populations can be invisibilized by government data collection efforts. Without the routine and standardized collection of information about transgender populations, some advocates contend, transgender people will not “count” when government agencies make decisions about the health, safety and public welfare of the population. But even as more agencies become more open to surveying transgender populations, experts and professionals are not yet of one mind as to what constitutes “best practices” for sampling methods that will accurately capture respondents’ gender identity/expression, and the diversity of transgender communities. In still other quarters, debates rage about the ethics of counting trans people in the first place.
We invite proposals for scholarly essays that tackle transgender inclusion and/or gender identity/expression measurement and sampling methods in population studies, demography, epidemiology, and other social sciences. We also invite submissions that critically engage with the project of categorizing and counting “trans” populations.
Potential topics might include:
- best practices and strategies for transgender inclusion and sampling in quantitative research;
- critical reflections on past, current, and future data collection efforts;
- the potential effects of epidemiological research on health and other disparities in trans communities;
- who counts/gets counted and who does not: occlusions of disability, race, ethnicity, class, gender in quantitative research on trans communities;
- the tension between the contextually specific meaning of transgender identities and the generality and fixity that data collection requires of its constructs and social categories;
- implications of linguistic, geographical, and cultural diversity in definitions of transgender and the limits of its applicability;
- critical engagements with of the biopolitics of enumerating the population.
Please send full length article submissions by December 31, 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a brief bio including name, postal address, and any institutional affiliation. Illustrations, figures and tables should be included with the submission.
The guest editors for this issue are Jody Herman (Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law), Emilia Lombardi (Baldwin Wallace University), Sari L. Reisner (Harvard School of Public Health), Ben Singer (Vanderbilt University), and Hale Thompson (University of Illinois at Chicago). Any questions should be sent to the guest editors at email@example.com.
TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly is a new journal, edited by Paisley Currah and Susan Stryker to be published by Duke University Press. TSQ aims to be the journal of record for the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies and to promote the widest possible range of perspectives on transgender phenomena broadly defined. Every issue of TSQ will be a specially themed issue that also contains regularly recurring features such as reviews, interviews, and opinion pieces. To learn more about the journal and see calls for papers for future special issues, visit http://lgbt.arizona.edu/tsq-main.