About a month ago I participated in the TPATH conference. This groundbreaking online event centred trans healthcare practice, research, and activism by and for trans people.
I was very impressed with the measures taken by TPATH organisers to ensure the conference was accessible to as many people as possible from around the world. They organised live translation to and from English, French, and Spanish, provided live captioning, encouraged presenters to speak slowly and clearly to enable lipreading, and ensured that generous scholarships were available for those who would not otherwise afford to attend. Most of the event was recorded, and videos are gradually being uploaded to the TPATH Youtube channel.
At the conference I joined Tash Oakes-Monger from NHS England to present initial findings from the ITEMS project (Improving Trans Experiences of Maternity Services). The ITEMS team, led by Michael Petch from the LGBT Foundation, ran a survey in early 2021 to explore the experiences of trans people (including non-binary people) who give birth in England. I supported the design and dissemination of the survey through my former role with the Trans Learning Partnership.
There is some really exciting information emerging from the ITEMS data. For example, it appears that more trans people are giving birth than ever before (see above). However, it was also apparent that trans people face substantial inequalities.
Many of the questions in the ITEMS survey used comparable wording to the CQC Maternity Survey – from this we can see that trans people appear more likely to have negative experiences in NHS maternity services than cis women across the board. Even more disturbing is that 30% of trans respondents gave birth without the support of an NHS or private midwife (rising to 46% among trans people of colour). This indicates a lack of trust in midwifery services among prospective trans birth parents, with potentially lethal consequences for both parent and baby.
I am very excited to announce that I will be starting a new job at the University of Glasgow this summer!
I have been appointed Lecturer in Community Development at the School of Education. I will be teaching and conducting research on a range of topics relating to social justice theory and movements, community action, and collective empowerment. This will build on my previous work on topics including trans health, queer music scenes, and gender inequalities in Higher Education.
I am also delighted to have been appointed Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Transgender Studies (CATS) in Chicago. As a Fellow at the Center I intend to collaborate with international colleagues in conducting and disseminating impactful research by and for trans people and communities.
All of this does however mean that sadly I will be leaving my current role as Research Coordinator at the Trans Learning Partnership. We have achieved an enormous amount with this new partnership over the last year, including co-production of community research priorities, design and pilot of shared data collection, participation in public consultations and advisory groups, and support work around groundbreaking research with trans birth parents in England. I wish my former colleagues all the best with their future work, and fully intend to continuing collaborating with them as a university-based researcher.
I am doing a couple of events for Trans Day of Visibility (Wednesday 31 March).
Katy Montgomerie’s TDOV livestream
I’ll be joining Katy Montgomerie‘s TDOV livestream, in which she will “talk to a load of cool trans people about whatever!” I’m dropping by for the start of the event at circa 19:00 BST (British Summer Time) – join us for chill times, and stick around for conversations with a load of great trans thinkers, writers, and Youtubers. You can watch through the link below:
I did an interview with Joanne Espada for Spectra’s Trans Programme. We spoke about the Trans Learning Partnership, the background to my research work, and my decision to become “visibly” trans in my mid-20s after several years living stealth. You can watch the full thing through the link below!
I also submitted more extensive written evidence as part of the Trans Learning Partnership. This document was co-authored with colleagues at Gendered Intelligence, the LGBT Foundation, and Spectra, plus Goldsmiths researcher Dr Anna Carlile.
We argued that the Government’s proposed changes for those wishing to change the sex marker on their birth certificates – reducing the fee and moving the form online – are deeply insufficient, and will make the process neither “kinder” nor “more straightforward. An ideal approach would be a free and simple process based on the principle of self-declaration, rather than medical diagnosis and the provision of extensive documentary evidence. This should be available to non-binary people and under-18s as well as adult trans women and men. We also discussed the possibility of decertification (that is, the feminist principle of removing legal sex altogether) and the damage caused by Parliament’s poor handling of the “gender recognition” debate.
I am very excited to announce that I will soon begin work on a new project. From the beginning of April I will be working full-time with Spectra as Research Coordinator for the Trans Learning Partnership.
The Trans Learning Partnership is a groundbreaking collaboration between trans and non-binary community representatives, academics, and four organisations who work to directly provide community services: Spectra, Gendered Intelligence, Mermaids, and the LGBT Foundation. The aim of the Partnership is to drive the development of a robust service and advocacy-oriented evidence base, enabling trans services and their service users to have needs-based, impactful services.
This also means that I will be leaving the Trans Pregnancy Projectat the University of Leeds, but rest assured that I plan to continue supporting my colleagues from that project in writing up and publishing our findings. We have a number of academic articles currently in the pipeline, along with a themed special issue of the International Journal of Transgender Health.
I will of course continue to update this website periodically with information and reflections on all of my ongoing research.
The Trans Learning Partnership feels like such an important opportunity to design and undertake research intended to directly improve people’s lives. I can’t wait to get started!