Thinking in the End Times

Saeed Khan / AFP via Getty Images

Lately, I have been consumed with fear, dread, and a growing sense of nihilism regarding global climate change. My fear has become so gripping that I have begun to wonder what the point or purpose of my work as a social scientist is. Given my role as an academic, and one whose work is decidedly directed toward expanding possibilities for gender-expansive futures, my current affective stance is distressing. Not only have I begun to worry about the thrust of my work — after all, what good is imagining gender-expansive futures if there is no future for the world? — but…

From not existing to existing but only in certain kinds of ways, the gender anxieties of nontrans people are played out time and again, plumbing the depths of the impossibilities of life for trans women. In this essay, I explore some of these demands, their affective beginnings, and the ways they further entrench and proliferate trans oppression.

Nontrans people, it seems, want something from trans women. More accurately put, in fact, is that nontrans people demand things of trans women. It is not a mere want, as if to suggest a passive/docile ask. Instead, nontrans people make demands of us…

Being excessive is often made into a subject position, as in: “she is too much,” or “her attitude is excessive.” The act of being excessive signals an overflowing, a too muchness that reinforces an othering, or the un/making of those who are excessive into those who are unnecessary and, as a result, can be forgotten, disappeared, or not oriented toward. The un/making of one as too much is a move toward disposability, toward marking somebody as a nobody. …

This week/end, the Transgender Studies Research Cluster at the University of Arizona — of which I am a member and Co-Chair — hosted Trans ± Sex: Rethinking Sex/Gender in Trans Studies. This event was a 3-day symposium that brought together scholars, activists, and artists working across the field of Transgender Studies to think through thorny concepts and topics. I was a part of a panel called Trans ± Visibility with Dr. Max Strassfeld and CeCe McDonald. For our panel, we each addressed four central questions we came up with to think about the complexities of visibility. While videos of our…

Photo by Sora Sagano on Unsplash

This summer has been one full of euphoria for me. Not only have I been coding interview transcripts with trans youth who have used the phrase “gender euphoria” to describe moments of joy they experience in life, but I have also been watching HBO’s breakout series Euphoria. The first season of the show, which ostensibly centers on the sex and drug-soaked experiences of suburban youth navigating adolescence, also weaves a shadow-side narrative in which viewers are treated to a provocative ongoing mediation centering on dis/connection, depression, identity and, as the show’s title suggests, how each character chases euphoria as a…

“We want to want. We desire to desire.”
~Eva Hayward

“Touch this skin honey, touch all of this skin! Okay? You just can’t take it!”
~Venus Xtravaganza

Trans as a prefix denotes desire, longing, and want. Trans is a seeking and yearning, an exploration, an imagining of what may, could, or might be. Trans is excess, is a wanting more than what one has or is seemingly given by repressive truth/knowledge regimes. To move into one’s trans becoming, then, is to actively court a longing that may yet un/do us as people, as communities, and as broader publics. …

Why a nonbinary/binary trans dichotomy is counterproductive to gender liberation by T.J. Jourian and Z Nicolazzo

This piece has been cross-posted through both author’s Medium accounts, as well as the account for the National Center for Institutional Diversity

Photo from The Gender Spectrum Collective on Broadly

As trans people, not much makes us crankier than the insistence of a nonbinary/binary trans dichotomy, or the arbitrary dividing of trans people into two camps based on someone’s idea of who is and is not conforming to masculine men’s and feminine women’s presentations. As trans scholars and educators, we understand the importance of making trans realities accessible, especially to those out there searching for someone “like them.” But this is not achieved by surplanting one gender binary…

A story about gender and the loss associated with hair loss.

photo taken by author

“I don’t know what happened,” I said. “When I was a kid, I had such thick hair, and now, not so much.”

I was at a new hair stylist; my fourth in two years since moving to Illinois, and I felt defeated. I just wanted to find someone who wouldn’t make me do the work of carrying a conversation and would help me feel decent about the hair I had left. I wasn’t yet sure I wouldn’t need to find a fifth stylist, but for now, I thought, I’ll try to make this one work.

“Well, sometimes when kids hit…

What feelings rise when one is confronted with gender? What about when one seeks out gender, but it is nowhere to be found? What curiosities, fears, pleasures, and confusions ripple out, and how do these feelings induce particular epistemes that then ground attitudes and behaviors about those genders one does (not) find? How do fantasy and desire project visions of gender, like film on a screen, that speak to who one could is and/or could become? How can gender be both the quotidian residue of everyday life, and also a weighty prospect through which political, social, and cultural occurrences resonate?

Z Nicolazzo

Associate Professor, Trans* Studies in Education, Center for the Study of Higher Education, University of Arizona

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