As trans studies has become more institutionalized, it has rarely departed from the norms of elite academic traditions that privilege research and publication over teaching, while neglecting critical interrogation of higher education institutions themselves. While the market-based logics of outcomes assessment for teaching have begun to penetrate the domain of higher education, research output is still what really counts for getting a job, tenure, promotion, a better job, or even a raise. As the guest editors of this issue point out in their introduction, “in the three seminal publications that signal the emergence of trans* studies as a field (i.e., The Transgender Studies Reader, The Transgender Studies Reader 2, and TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly), there is only one article that has a specific focus on formal educational contexts and pedagogical concerns.” While scholars of education and pedagogy have published highly regarded work in their own disciplinary journals regarding the reproduction and contestation of gender normativity in educational settings, there has been a marked absence of such scholarship in the field-defining venues of trans studies—until now.
With this special issue on “Trans*formational Pedagogies,” guest editors Z Nicolazzo, Susan B. Marine, and Francisco J. Galarte redress such absences and argue that explicit attention to the institutional contexts of formal educational activities should be central to trans studies in the moment of its increasingly rapid institutionalization. The collection of essays they offer here, described more fully in their own introduction to the issue, range from an examination of how teachers renaturalize the gender binary in classroom practices, to a study documenting the privileging of masculine norms of embodiment among trans men in college, to a dialogue between two trans teachers in Spain about their approaches to trans* pedagogy in public school classrooms. The articles make visible the reproduction of gender normativity in most educational settings and point to the transformative potential of education for dismantling such unthinking “genderism.”
Much of the content in this issue's recurring sections amplify the issue's theme. In “Book Reviews,” j wallace skelton and Amy McNally each offer reviews of several children's books that feature “gender-independent” or transgender young people, while Cris Mayo reviews the revised second edition of trans icon Kate Bornstein's popular My Gender Workbook, and Aaron Link profiles The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard, an anthology from all-trans Topside Press, which is gaining acceptance as a teaching text in trans literature classes. In the “Research Note,” Tre Wentling's discussion of classroom pronoun attribution reveals that roughly 50 percent of the students he surveyed report that teachers use the students' preferred pronoun only some of the time or not at all, and that teachers were more likely to use the desired pronoun when a student expressed their gender identity in a binary rather than genderqueer manner. In the “Policies” section, which appears for the first time in this issue, Genny Beemyn and Dot Brauer examine resistance to making name and gender changes in student records at US colleges and universities; Don Romesburg chronicles the efforts of a committee of scholars to add LGBT history to California's elementary and high school curriculum and describes how material on transgender history was especially likely to be overlooked.
This issue debuts two other recurring sections: “Fashion” and “Translations.” In the first, TSQ editorial board member Frank J. Galarte, who will regularly curate the fashion section, offers a brief autobiographical reflection on what trans fashion means to him and what it can teach all of us, before interviewing textile, text, and film artist L. J. Roberts, whose embroidery of a photo of Jackie Mautner carrying a sign at the 2012 New York Drag March expressing solidarity with incarcerated trans woman Cece McDonald is the cover image for this issue of TSQ. In the inaugural translations section, translation scholar David Gramling has selected contributions from Italian medievalist Fabian Alfie, who translates a fourteenth-century bawdy tale involving cross-dressing, and from gender studies scholar S. P. F. Dale, who translates a statement by Ray Tanaka, contemporary Japanese author of Toransujendā feminizumu (Transgender Feminism, 2006), on the neglect by feminist antiviolence activists of intimate partner violence experienced by trans individuals.