Ph.D. Student, Department of American Studies, George Washington University
2022 to 2023
Standard: The Institutionalization of Transgender Medicine
This project traces the history of the Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People (SOC), the first and most widely deployed set of medical guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of people seeking medical gender transition. While many scholars have investigated the rise of “transsexualism” as an object of medical discourse in the first half of the twentieth century, there is no comprehensive history of the SOC’s institutional entrenchment from its inception in 1979 to the present. This project places traditional archival sources in the history of medicine such as conference proceedings, correspondence, and publications in conversation with trans community newspapers, organizational records, and conferences to portray the history of the SOC as one of dynamic interrelation and struggle between (primarily cisgender) medical practitioners and trans laypeople and activists. Such an analysis is crucial for contemporary debates regarding medical transition, patient autonomy, and medical authority.