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Researching trans people: Ethics through method

Christina Richards

Abstract


Abstract

Trans people are those people who are not content to remain in the gender assigned at birth. They are a group who are increasingly being researched, however the method and findings of such research are often used as a means or ‘lens’ to buttress a particular theoretical stance such as queer theory, psychoanalysis, or medical positivism. This discussion considers the ethics of continued research of this group which have been historically marginalised and are still often at the edges of the academy. In particular it examines the power implications of ‘giving a voice’ as the ethical centre of such research; alongside issues of the intelligibility of trans people being mediated by the academy, and the voice of the academic expert. It also briefly considers the inherent problems associated with reflexivity; whether through its absence or though the positioning of the reflexive researcher as inside or outside the group being researched. It then proceeds to outline some methodological means by which trans people may be engaged in research in a way in which the method, and not merely the outcome, is inherently ethical.

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Bibliography: Richards, Christina: Researching trans people: Ethics through method, INSEP, Vol. 3, Issue 1-2015, pp. 53-64. https://doi.org/10.3224/insep.v3i1.05


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