Why Disability Studies Scholars Must Challenge Transmisogyny and Transphobia

  • Jen Slater Reader in Disability Studies and Education, Sheffield Institute of Education
  • Kirsty Liddiard Research Fellow, School of Education and Institute for the Study of the Human (iHuman), University of Sheffield

Abstract

We argue the need for coalition between trans and disability studies and activism, and that Disability Studies gives us the tools for this task. Our argument rests upon six facets. First and foremost, we explicitly acknowledge the existence of trans disabled people, arguing that Disability Studies must recognise the diversity of disabled people’s lives. Second, we consider how the homogenisation of womanhood, too often employed in transmisogonist arguments particularly when coming from those claiming to be feminists, harm both non-disabled trans women and cis disabled women. This leads to our third point, that Feminist Disability studies must be anti-reductive, exploring how gendered experiences rest upon other social positions (disability, queerness, race etc.) Fourth, we reflect upon the ways in which Disability Studies and feminism share a struggle for bodily autonomy, and that this should include trans people’s bodily autonomy. Finally, we argue that Trans and Disability Studies and activism share complex and critical relationships with medicine, making Disability and Trans Studies useful allies in the fight for better universal health care. We conclude by calling for our colleagues in Disability Studies to challenge transmisogony and transphobia and that transphobia is not compatible with Disability Studies perspectives.

Published
2018-07-05
Section
Articles