The importance of Transgender Day of Visibility for health psychology

~Gareth Treharne, Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Aotearoa/New Zealand (gtreharne@psy.otago.ac.nz)

Today and evTery March 31st is Transgender Day of Visibility (see TransStudent.org or here). This day is around 6 months away from Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is held on November 20th and memorialises transgender people whose lives have been cut short (http://tdor.info). Both days serve an important purpose in raising awareness of transgender issues. Both days are pertinent to health psychology, but transgender issues continue to have very little visibility in health psychology. This oversight of transgender issues is sometimes backed up with claims that transgender issues only need to be considered when a particular piece of research or a particular health service is specifically directed at transgender people. I argue that those claims should be contested.

Today is about celebrating the visibility of transgender people. As a gay person I feel a synergy with this day of pride in being visible. I also feel a pang of trepidation at sharing that sense of synergy because today isn’t about sexuality. At the same time, I recognise an opportunity to contribute to discussions about transgender visibility from the position of a transgender ally because I know I can submit this blog post and hopefully it will be up on the website before people living in the Americas wake up to Transgender Day of Visibility. For once I can benefit from living in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s timezone where it’s always closer to tomorrow and I usually hear about international days the day after they’ve happened.
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Toward an epistemology of precarity: Critical theory and participatory methods in times of widening inequality gaps: Michelle Fine’s ISCHP’15 keynote

Michelle delivered one of the three keynotes at the last ISCHP conference in South Africa. It was a powerful talk concerning 6 or 7 types (Michelle admitted she isn’t big on numbers) of precarity. Her bio, taken from the ISCHP 15 conference website is below:


Michelle Fine
is a Distinguished Professor of Social Psychology, Women’s Studies and Urban Education at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her work addresses theoretical questions of social injustice that sit the intersection of public policy and social research, particularly with respect to youth in schools and criminal justice. Fine’s work integrates critical psychological theory with feminist and post-colonial theory, participatory designs, qualitative and quantitative methods and strong commitments to research for social justice. Fine’s research is considered highly influential. Over the past decade, Fine’s scholarship has been recognized nationally and internationally with awards, fellowships and prestigious invited lectures. She is the founding faculty member of the Public Science Project. The Public Science Project designs and implements theoretically informed and historically enriched research with movements for educational justice and policy reform. The most influential report to be published by Public Science Project is Changing Minds, a participatory action research project conducted with women in and out of prison, studying the impact of college in prison on women, their children, the prison environment and post release outcomes. Fine is also a much sought after expert witness in gender and race discrimination education cases where her research and testimony has been influential in obtaining influential court victories.

Black & White photo of Michelle Fine leaning against brick wall

An audio recording of the majority of Michelle’s talk is below. Please note there’s a couple of points where the audio recording skips. I was sorry not to have recorded the other brilliant and humbling keynotes by Garth Stephens and Leslie Swartz.  In future I’ll definitely be much better prepared.

Michelle speaks for about 47 mins with the last 8-10 minutes left for questions. Enjoy.

For other recordings of Michelle’s keynotes see here and here.