This section includes eighty-six short original essays commissioned for the inaugural issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. Written by emerging academics, community-based writers, and senior scholars, each essay in this special issue, “Postposttranssexual: Key Concepts for a Twenty-First-Century Transgender Studies,” revolves around a particular keyword or concept. Some contributions focus on a concept central to transgender studies; others describe a term of art from another discipline or interdisciplinary area and show how it might relate to transgender studies. While far from providing a complete picture of the field, these keywords begin to elucidate a conceptual vocabulary for transgender studies. Some of the submissions offer a deep and resilient resistance to the entire project of mapping the field terminologically; some reveal yet-unrealized critical potentials for the field; some take existing terms from canonical thinkers and develop the significance for transgender studies; some offer overviews of well-known methodologies and demonstrate their applicability within transgender studies; some suggest how transgender issues play out in various fields; and some map the productive tensions between trans studies and other interdisciplines.
Trans species highlights the ways in which trans formations are connected to and made possible by relationships among humans and nonhuman animals that productively disrupt heterosexual gender norms and kinship formations.
From the Latin speciē — appearance, form, kind — species has long been caught up in racisms, colonialisms, and sexual and gender norms. For example, the eighteenth-century notion of species as interfertility — the ability to produce viable offspring — introduced by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, was central to nineteenth-century eugenicists' assertions of race as species (Nott 1843). More recently, Ernst Mayr's well-known 1942 biological definition of species as “actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations, which are reproductively isolated from other such groups” (120), while contested, helped solidify heterosexuality's starring role in species debates. Trans species challenges these intersecting stories of nature that culture tells itself.
Myra Hird notes that nonhuman living organisms “display a wide diversity of sex” (2008: 235), a diversity evident in examples such as the platypus's five X and five Y chromosomes and the coral goby's environment-dependent sex changes. Indeed, for many species, heterosexual sex is impossible, as with fungi whose thousands of sexes make of propagation a nonheterosexual flourishing. The many species of trans are species disruptors.
Trans species also describes connections integral to human processes of being and doing trans. Premarin, a hormonal treatment derived from the urine of pregnant mares and often used for human feminization, involves “horses kept in cycles of gestation and impregnation so as to collect their urine” (Hayward 2010: 228); this entwining of bodies and violences makes many trans embodiments possible. Trans species encounters also commingle ontologies and identities. Eva Hayward describes the ways in which “a transitioning woman is enfleshing, enfolding elements of her environment within herself … a spider in her web” (ibid.: 238–39), while Harlan Weaver writes about how his relationship with his pit bull–type dog facilitated his safety in public spaces when he was “vulnerable as a visibly transgender person,” helping to make his gender possible (2013: 689). Trans species reveals how these coconstitutive identities and ways of being happen through species differences.
Imbricated ontologies and mutually constitutive identities reveal trans species as a mode of connection. Trans species promotes hybrid fruit and rhizomatic extensions that make new becomings possible, becomings that reveal intimacies inconceivable under the genus regime. Trans species is trans making, in that it demonstrates how the illicit tendrils of trans formations weave new webs that join multiple and diverse bodies and beings, making them kin in spite of kind.