Some group of researchers just sent me mail on here to invite me to participate in their study about trans peoples’ Marginalization, Mental Health, and Empowerment — offering a “1 in 25 chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.”
I sent them quite the response.
Let me put this out there: I have been working in social services, including working on multiple provincial and national research projects, for six years, and I can tell you that this project is pure exploitation. Trans people are massively overstudied, and always for things that are not actually useful to trans people obtaining access to healthcare, employment opportunities, stable housing, or decarceration (which I would argue are the four most pressing issues facing marginalized trans people). Instead, these studies pad the CVs of the mostly cis people doing the research, make one round of people oo-ing and ah-ing at the results, and then are relegated to cyber dust.
So, if these people are going to exploit our mental and emotional labour by making us take their studies, the very least they can do is offer decent compensation. Not a “chance” to “win” compensation. That’s just exploitation.
Do not do studies for a chance to win something, because the only people who actually win are the cis researchers.
And cis researchers: why don’t you try researching something that will actually have an impact in organizations gaining access to funds for crucial work around access to healthcare, HIV-related health care for trans people, decriminalization of sex work, decarceration of trans people in prisons, access to trans-positive housing, and the creation of employment opportunities? You know, things that will actually make a difference in our lives.
A lot of research, especially if it is publicized on tumblr, is done by students. Most of these students do not receive funding of any kind outside of possibly a stipend to cover the cost of living if they are in graduate school. The offer of winning a gift card is an attempt to incentivize participation because response rates can be really low. I know of one woman who bought a $25 gift card with her own money to encourage students to take her survey. I know of another woman who could barely afford the cost of making copies of her questionnaire because she didn’t receive funding. It’s not meant to be an insult. These researchers are not getting rich.
Trans people are not over studied. I am preparing to do my thesis on trans men and fear of victimization and I have found one source related to trans people. I’m not sure where you’re finding all these studies on trans people, but I’d love to see them. I’m not sure how they could be over-studied, especially when there is so much happening. Research isn’t a one time thing.
I’m also not sure what type of studies you’re talking about. Are you talking about medical studies? Psychological? Sociological? All of your examples at the end are things that sociologists and even possibly psychologists would study. A study on the marginalization and empowerment of trans people is important. These things matter and they set the groundwork for research further down the line. I think we get into dangerous territory when we start talking about the usefulness of research, but that’s another conversation I don’t feel like having at the moment.
The trans community is small. We don’t even have accurate numbers to reflect the demographics of the population. I wonder how many trans people are at an academic level where they are doing research. I’d really be interested to know the number, but I do know that cis people outnumber trans people. So with a limited number of trans scholars, who else is going to do the work?
Listen, I’m not trying to defend academia or cisgender researchers. Both are full of problems, but I think it is better to be critical and hold them accountable than to flat out refuse to participate in any research with a cisgender researcher. In the end it’s counterproductive to what you’re trying to achieve.
Also, I encourage people to never assume a researcher is cisgender unless they specifically identify themselves as such.
And because I feel like I should add this… I am a graduate student studying sociology. I’m preparing to do my thesis on trans men. I’m not cisgender.
Oh hey, it’s the researcher I was talking about in my original post. You only found one source on trans people? This is surprising to me! Even if we only take the really, really shitty parts of academia, I can think of over a dozen studies by Ray Blanchard, J Michael Bailey, Kenneth Zucker. The older awful stuff by Harry Benjamin, John Money, et al. Or, if we’re going for good stuff, there are books and papers by Vivane Namaste (a trans in academia! Yes, it does happen! Actually all the time), J. Bobby Noble (also a trans!), and dozens of others. How about the massive NCTE study? The Trans Pulse Project? The research on gay trans men that went on to create the PRIMED booklet? I have one article on my computer right now about the benefits of religious community involvement in HIV prevention for trans women. WE HAVE STUFF THAT SPECIFIC. That’s how studied we are.
Do not tell me we aren’t overstudied, because I’m about to take you to school here. In my job working as a coordinator of trans services, I averaged receiving two calls for participants for academic studies on trans people’s lives A WEEK for FOUR AND A HALF YEARS. Only a handful of them would ever be actually useful for trans communities.
You keep saying you’re not cisgender but don’t say that you’re trans or genderqueer. Are you one of those people who just doesn’t like to be called cisgender but probably gets called that all the time? Honest question. I need clarification here.
It sounds like You Might Be New Here, so I don’t want to really lay into you about it, but maybe if you caused me and lots of other trans people to be angry at you, you might want to think about why that is instead of trying to put me in my place?
Just a thought.
[EDIT: Apparently, this *isn’t* the same person! Apologies for that. But the rest of my points still stand.]
Sophia Lamar, Videohair
TRENDY KIDS UNIVERSALLY ADOPT THE “VIDEOHAIR”
In year 2010, many diseases, like cancer, heart condition and ulcers will be closely associated with sexual repression and chastity. To stay in good health, everybody will say YES to anything, and try to fuck many times a day with anybody they can find.
If the sexual partner is not that interesting, people will just turn on the TV in his hair and get aroused with the latest “Porno-gore” features, while drilling away!
They are the Couch Cucumbers.
Published on Project X No. 6, 1988