Accepted paper:

Depathologizing research practices: collaborative and self-reflexive research in trans activist contexts


Amets Suess Schwend (Andalusian School of Public Health)

Paper short abstract:

The trans depathologization perspective proposes a shift from the conceptualization of trans identities as a mental disorder towards their recognition as a human right. In a research practices based on a depathologization perspective, collaborative approaches achieve a specific relevance.

Paper long abstract:

Over the last decade, a critical scholarship from trans-identified academics and allies emerged. From these perspectives, dynamics of pathologization in research are questioned, as well as an exclusion of trans-identified authors from academic knowledge production or limitation of their voices to a testimony role. The denounce of pathologization in the research area can be related to the demand of trans depathologization in the social, health care and legal contexts. Trans-identified scholars and allies propose strategies for a non-pathologizing and non-iatrogenic research practice, in relation to epistemological, methodological and ethical aspects. Furthermore, collective publication projects can be identified, elaborated with the objective of visibilizing critical discourses and disseminating trans depathologization perspectives. At the same time, trans depathologization activism is described as characterized by a continuous self-reflexive and self-critical practice. In their publications, trans depathologization activists discuss critiques and concerns expressed within trans communities, as well as challenging aspects in the process of negotiating diagnostic classifications and legal framework with international, regional and national agencies. The presence of trans-identified scholars and allies with a double academic-activist background, as well as the interest of trans depathologization activism in self-reflection, open up a potential space for collaborative ethnographies. As potential difficulties and limitations, the different rhythms and priorities of activist and academic contexts can be identified, as well as the need of combining activism, research and daily subsistance activities. At the same time, the dichotomy academia - activism can be questioned, giving preference to the description of the own trajectory as multidimensional and intersectional.

panel P042
The praxis of collaborative ethnography: knowledge production with social movements