Today sees the publication of my book Understanding Trans Health. I’m really happy to be finally sharing it with the world.
Yesterday I hosted a launch event at the University of Leeds. I felt really strongly that this was an opportunity not only to celebrate the book, but also to explore some of the other fantastic work happening in the field of trans health. One of the things I write about in the penultimate chapter of Understanding Trans Health is the importance of collaboration and building one another up – I wanted to help start a conversation that encompassed more than my own work, and give something back to others from whom I have learned so much.
Zowie Davy and Michael Toze opened the event with a discussion of the term “gender dysphoria”. They have conducted a systematic review of literature on the topic, and found that there are huge conceptual differences in how the term is deployed and understood. This can lead to diagnostic confusion and issues with empirical claims, especially given the continued contemporaneous influence of alternative and older diagnostic languages. Davy and Toze have written an academic article based on this work which is currently under peer review; I very much recommend watching out for its publication. [Twitter thread]
Chris Dietz offered a fascinating insight into gender recognition reform in Denmark. He noted that the positive international press afforded to the country’s new gender recognition law contrasted with the views of many actual trans people in Denmark. Concerns were raised in particular about the contrast between the liberal provisions of the law, which enables a form of self-declaration, and the strict requirements of the Sexological Clinic, which has a monopoly on gender identity services. [Twitter thread]
Kate Nambiar argued for the importance of trans-led healthcare services. She touched upon the inspiring history of pioneering women doctors in the 19th century, before offering a nuanced analysis of what we do and don’t know about trans sexual health and why trans-led services offer an opportunity to address endemic issues. I was particularly inspired by the description of her work as part of the Clinic T team. While my own work has primarily explored the problems that exist within the provision of healthcare services for trans people, I feel it is deeply important to explore possible options for a better future. [Twitter thread]
My own talk offered a broad overview of my book’s central ideas and themes, as well as some illustrative examples from research participants, healthcare literatures and resources. I also touched upon what it means to become an “expert” from my own experience as a trans academic, and the sometimes severe challenges that come with this. Several attendees tweeted summaries of my talk, which I have linked below.One attendee also very kindly filmed sections of my talk, so these may be uploaded to the Internet at a later date.
You can read more about the event on the Twitter hashtag #transhealthleeds. But ultimately, to learn more about my work, I encourage you to buy the book!
The success of Understanding Trans Health will depend in part on word of mouth, so if you find the book interesting or useful, please do write a review to share your thoughts! Similarly, if you work or study at a university, please do talk to your subject librarian to see if they can order in a copy.
As for the event, I would like to offer a huge amount of thanks to everyone who came, as well as to the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds for supporting the event, and to Sally Hines for her warm contributions as a fantastic chair.
Hi Ruth – this sounds like a great day! Sorry to have issed it…
You may be interested to know that Leeds Student Medical Practice recently co-ordinated an excellent study day for gps, practice managers etc “Transgender Health in Primary Care”. There were some fascinating speakers and the event was widely appreciated by gps keen to exopand their knowledge & understanding – most encouraging.
all best, Maggi
Hi Maggi! Yes, I’d hope to make it for this, but unfortunately was speaking at a conference elsewhere in the country on the day. A pity, because I know Kate was there!
My book really focuses on the problems that exist (and why they exist / how they manifest) but I do know there a lot of people eager to learn and improve the care they offer. Over the last couple of years I’ve had the privilege to address numerous events held by and for doctors, nurses,psychiatrists and therapists, and both educate them about trans issues and learn from them in turn.
I hope we can meet some other time – I would love to hear more about the work you do in Leeds.
Pleased it went so well Ruth; I ordered the book today and look forward to reading it but since you kindly sent me your PhD thesis I will probably recognise a lot. I am in Leeds for the Medieval Congress first week of July so maybe a chance to say hi. Carla
I found the conference well worth the trip from Edinburgh to Leeds for the day – congratulations, Ruth, on getting such a great group of speakers together. I particularly enjoyed (and was deeply moved by) your own talk, so I’m very much looking forward to reading your book when it arrives in the post! Anna x