Over the last 15 years, the transgender rights movement has burgeoned in the United States. A handful of states and dozens of localities in the United States have passed nondiscrimination legislation inclusive of gender identity; courts have begun to rule that transgender people should be treated equally; educational institutions and companies are beginning to include gender identity and gender expression in their nondiscrimination policies. The term transgender has moved into mainstream discourse with increasingly positive representations of trans lives in the media–from countless local newspaper articles on transgender people and their transitions, to respectful mentions in (some) political candidates’ speeches, to the ongoing appearance of trans characters in soap operas. Lagging behind that tremendous upsurge in awareness of transgender issues, however, has been research on transgender lives and practices that centers on the concerns and perspectives of those whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to social expectations.
By Paisley Currah, Dean Spade, 2007