In the last decade, public discussions of transgenderism have increased exponentially. What was once regarded as an unusual or even unfortunate disorder has become an accepted articulation of gendered embodiment as well as a new site for political activism. How did a stigmatized identity become so central to US and European articulations of self and other? What fuels the continued fascination with transgender embodiment and how has the recognition of its legitimacy changed current gender protocols in the US? What is the history of gender and how does it sit alongside histories of sexuality, race, ability and health? This talk will focus on recent representations of the transgender body to think about how and why gender variability has become such a contested site recently for discussions of access, identity, futurity and change itself.
By Judith Halberstam, 2008