Building up the field of Transgender Studies in Scandinavia – a challenge

This conference showed that there´s a great intrest in Transgender Studies, in the Nordic countries. What many years ago was only the field for psychologists and physicians who wanted to know more about the ”freaks” and how to ”cure” us, Transgender Studies now also is a field for researchers in many diciplines, from anthropology to theology.

I think diversity in research, as often in other contexts, are important for getting results. Therefore, I think it´s important to try even more to broaden the field of Transgender Studies, and to start cooperations between diciplines. With good contacts between researchers from different diciplines as well as different countries, the field will grow stronger. To be able to do that, researchers have to lay aside distrust, both between diciplines and between humanities and natural science. I also think it´s important to understand that Gender Studies is not the same as Transgender Studies, just as GLB-Studies are not limited to sexology. New thoughts and idéas grow best watered by many. That will be one of the biggest challenge, to honestly see and handle the conflicts that will come up when trying to truly work interdiciplinary.

The other challenge is to find resources, resources to conferences, to a database and to publications. This things are necessery to spread the results, to share idéas and for the results and thoughts to reach rest of the society. For me, as a politican and a transactivist, this last aspect is my main focus. In complex society with contradictory wills, hierarchys and unequal circumstances, basic data for decisionmaking presented by reasearchers are a fundamental requirements for democratic decisions which can give trans people equal rights. By using researchreports from acknowledged researchers trans people can win respect and be given a voice. Under the condition we can find these reports.

Which leads me to the final, and most important, challenge: to communicate with the trans community. This is important so that we can have the chance to speak up if the research is harmful. No matter if you yourself identify as transgender or not, checking your therminology, thesis, methods, sources and so one with a couple of well established lokal transgender leaders in your country is a good way to ensure that your research will not harm anyone in the transcommunity. In return, it´s the responsibility of the transcommunity to give something back, such as information, sources and respondents, as well as spread your final work in the transcommunity. If you as researcher do not find any transorganisation in your country, contact TransGender Europe.

Many of the discussion during the conference showed what great interested there is for cooperation over boundaries. There will always be conflicts and distrust, both between different trans groups and different researchers and diciplines as well as beteween researchers and trans people. But we have taken the the first steps, and we will go on forward, together!

Lukas Romson
Article published in the Graduate Journal of Social Science, GJSS, Volume 7, Issue 2, December 2010. It´s a special issue from the conference Transgender Studies and Theories: Building up the Field in a Nordic Context 2009 in Linköping. Look it up and read! Lots of interesting articles in the field of Transgender Studies, by many important reserchers!

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