(Mis)understanding transgender health

re:publica 2016


In an age of increasing transgender awareness, why is it that transgender health remains a subject of great controversy between doctors and patients? How can the Internet help us understand and address this problem?


Over the last three decades, the Internet has fundamentally changed what it means to be transgender. Communities have formed over great geographical distances, and new possibilities for transgender identity and embodiment have been forged.

However, transgender people continue to face a great many difficulties in everyday life, most of which stem from experiences of discrimination, harassment and ignorance in the public realm. One area of key concern is that of healthcare provision, where transgender people across Europe still report being treated inappropriately or denied services.

Transgender health is frequently understood in terms of individual want: specifically, the expressed need to ‘transition’ from one gender to another. What can we find when we look beyond individual transition, to understand transgender health as a wider social phenomenon?

This session will draw upon cutting-edge Internet research to explain some of the social processes that shape transgender patients’ interactions with their doctors. Drawing upon examples from Europe in general, and the UK in particular, it will show how misunderstandings on the part of both doctors and patients can be explained through online discussion and narratives of transgender possibility.

The session will end with some proposed solutions, looking at how doctors and patients can better talk to one another, rather than past one another. 

Stage 7
Mittwoch, 4. Mai 2016 - 16:15 bis 16:45