Call for Papers

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Call for Papers

Transgender: Intersectional/International


Conference date: 28-29 May 2019

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Deadline for abstracts: 5pm, 31 January 2019

Transgender: Intersectional/International explores the narratives of diverse transgender people from around the UK and the world, as they experience multiple intersecting inequalities. The conference will go beyond the idea of ‘transgender’ as a single-issue agenda or experience, and instead explore the stories of transgender and non-binary people in connection with intersecting oppressions such as those related to disability, nationality, ‘race’ and ethnicity, and class.

Over the past decade, transgender rights have been front-page news, with visceral transphobia and ignorance widely expressed in current UK public debates. Internationally there has been important progressive legislation in countries such as India, Nepal, Uruguay, and South Africa, but authoritarian or neo-fascist ascendancy witnessed in the USA, Uganda, and Brazil, among others. In this context of what some describe as a ‘culture war,’ the multifaceted issues of transgender rights permeate different disciplines across the social sciences and natural sciences, humanities and arts, such as (for example) sociology and anthropology, social policy, health and well-being, law, and literary studies. Themes to investigate range from human rights to families and relationships, innovative research or creative forms of intervention and activism.

By focusing on intersecting oppressions and inequalities, the conference aims to broaden our understanding of the multiple challenges that many transgender people experience in the world, and the creativity of alliances and resistances. The conference, for example, will investigate the issue of erasure, and the intersecting effects of patriarchy and heterosexuality, ableism, racism and class divisions in a context of neoliberal socio-economic policy, as well as the production of what Sarah Lamble calls ‘so-called good and bad victims,’ or in the words of Janet Mock, ‘the right kind of transgender person.’ Transgender: Intersectional/International will seek to go beyond the hegemonic, deracialized projection that we see in many Western mainstream representations, with their implicit white-created neutrality and neoliberal appropriation of the transgender person as embodying the ultimate individualistic self-transformation in a consumer society of freedom and choice. The conference will critique the concept of a single transgender ‘community’ shaped by white, non-disabled, socio-economically privileged experience, and provide a platform for voices of diverse and often excluded intersectional and international identities.



We welcome contributions from academics from all disciplines, activists, professionals and practitioners, artists and cultural producers, independent researchers and publicly-engaged individuals that can help shine a light on the complex dynamics of transgender experience in relation to wider inequalities such as class, disability, nationality, ‘race’ and ethnicity. The conference will aim to combine academic papers and presentations with other forms of contributions.

Expressions of interest from individuals or groups, in the form of 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers or proposals for alternative formats, should be sent to by 5pm, Monday 31 January 2018.

The intention is to develop a volume publishing papers from the conference, to be edited by members of the organizing group; we thus encourage submissions of high quality academic papers on that basis. Please contact us if you would like further details.

Please feel free to contact the lead organiser Gina Roberts at if you would like to discuss your submission in advance of the deadline.



We are committed to supporting those who work precariously either within or outside of the academy. In recognition of these conditions, bursaries will be available for speakers who do not have access to institutional support. These will support travel and accommodation.

The availability of funding for bursaries and support of participants will, it should be noted, be dependent on the outcome of fundraising for the event by the conference team, including through grant applications.  Access at the event will be addressed with respect to disabled people and health needs, and further financial support for participation by others cannot be guaranteed and will depend on the overall budget.

Please include a statement of approximately 150 words on your proposal explaining your reasons for why you would like to be considered for one of these bursaries.



The events will take place at the Old Medical School at the University of Edinburgh.

  • All events will be wheelchair accessible.
  • There will be wheelchair accessible toilets.
  • Where possible, events and screenings will be accompanied by live or closed captions and translations.
  • Printed materials will be made available in alternative formats upon request.
  • There will be a designated quiet space for conference delegates.
  • Full access information will be provided in advance of the conference.
  • Please contact us if you wish to discuss your access needs (


Safe Space Policy

  •  Avoid assumptions about our identities. Do not assume anyone’s pronouns or gender, and respect how they choose to define themselves. This applies to our conference speakers, staff and audience members.
  • It is not our job to justify our existence. To have the legitimacy of our gender identity challenged can be deeply distressing. If our gender identity doesn’t conform to your assumption, then question your assumption.
  • Listening and dialogue.  People speak from different positions of power, but nevertheless it is important for everyone participating to be given a fair chance to be heard if they are sincerely trying to speak within the conference framework. Mutual active listening and dialogue are central for increasing understanding.
  • Tone. Sometimes talking about issues such as gender, race, and disability gets emotional and heated; do not tell a person who experiences structural oppression on an often daily basis to “calm down” or accuse them of getting overly emotional.
  • It is not our job to educate you. Transgender: Intersectional / International works to facilitate conversations and learning opportunities, and we welcome questions, but we are not obliged to answer all or any of your questions. Please do not treat any person of marginalized or disempowered identity as a de facto answering machine for your queries.
  • Boundaries. Not everyone will want to engage in social interaction, physical contact or sustained eye contact. Your boundaries and understanding of interaction may not hold true for others.
  • Privilege. Take a moment to consider which privileges help you move through the world (race, sexuality, gender, class, neurotypicality, ability, language, etc.) before engaging in discussions.
  • Volunteers. Please be respectful to our volunteers and committee members, many of whom may also be processing difficult content throughout the discussions of the day.
  • Quiet Room. We will have a quiet room for anyone who needs to remove themselves from the conference because they’re feeling overwhelmed / overstimulated or uncomfortable, or because they just need some time to calm down and relax in a quiet environment. Please be mindful in these spaces that anyone else using it may not want to talk.
  • Violence. Violence will not be tolerated. This includes physical violence, violent language (racist, sexist, transphobic or ableist slurs, misgendering, dismissal of experiences and pain). 


Adapted from the Resisting Whiteness conference 22.09.18:


Transgender: Intersectional/International is a conference event co-organized by researchers of transgender identity and experience from several universities in Scotland:

Gina Maya Roberts is a Doctoral Researcher and teacher at the University of Edinburgh, and her research is on Global Transgender Narratives. She has published articles on trans identity at the NORMA Journal of International Masculinity Studies and Edinburgh FORUM, and presented several conference papers on representations of trans in popular culture. She is also a community activist and blogger on trans issues.

Dr Matthew Waites is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Glasgow and has published internationally on issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights. Publications include The Global Politics of LGBT Human Rights special issue of Contemporary Politics in 2009, and Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change (School of Advanced Study, 2013).

Dominique Green is a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Edinburgh. Her research centres around the multidimensionality of disadvantage and its relationship to intersectionality, particularly the intersection between race and sex. In addition, she is the Equality, Gender, and Change PhD intern for the University’s Information Services Group where she spearheads its equality and diversity initiative: PlayFair Steps. She has also given lectures and conducted workshops on the importance of intersectionality at work and in academia.

Dr Sylvia Morgan has been researching transgender identities in Scotland since 2009. She acquired an M.Phil in Scottish Studies and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Glasgow and is an alumnus of the Universities of Cape Town, Pretoria and Witwatersrand, and a former Fulbright Scholar of Columbia University. Before relocating to Scotland she lectured postcolonial studies at Vista University South Africa. Sylvia has a lifelong professional and activist involvement in anti-Apartheid, LGBT+, human rights, and equality/ diversity issues. She published a book in 2012: The Crisis of Capitalism in Interwar Glasgow.

Dr Carolynn Gray is a senior lecturer at the School of Accounting, Finance and Law. Their current research focuses on the legal rights of transgender individuals.



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