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Coming to Penn State this spring: ‘Critical Conversations on Trans and Intersex Wellness’

Penn State students are in for a treat this coming spring semester: The College of Liberal Arts’ Clinic and Elsewhere Speaker Series will feature a pair of, er, thought-provoking lectures based on its “Critical Conversations on Trans and Intersex Wellness.”

First up in late January is “Hell Holes or Saviors: Transnational Visions of Southeast Asian Trans Surgery” which, according to its abstract, will “investigate political economies of risk logic by looking at how transnational trans and queer studies comprehend trans people’s patronage of ‘back alley surgeons.’”

Presenter Aren Aizura, whose body of work includes contributions to Queer NecropoliticsTrans Studies: Beyond Homo/Hetero Normativities, and Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies, will compare

online reviews of and videos about Pratunam Polyclinic, a walk-in aesthetic surgery clinic in Bangkok, Thailand with a large trans clientele, which some consider a “hellhole” but which others describe as a renowned center for transgender surgeries. This comparison troubles the exceptionalist logic that global north nations offer the best surgical care and yield the most satisfied trans surgery candidates. Arguing that the spectral other of the “high quality” or “caring” surgical procedure is a subject thought to be condemned to mutilation, disfigurement, and unimaginable pain and suffering, [she] show[s] how this spectralizes and marginalizes low-income trans people (particularly trans and gender nonconforming people outside the global north) who access low-cost surgical procedures as naturally risky or insensitive to “bad” care.

In March, the “trans” quotient spikes with Susan Stryker’s “Psychedelic Trans: Whiteness, Plasticity, and Socio-Somatic Transformation.”

Did you know that one of the first US towns to ban cross-dressing also was the site of the country’s first plastics factory? This may have been a “mere coincidence,” but since the mid-1800s, Stryker notes, “notions of transness, plasticity, and bodily transformation have been linked in popular culture as well as medical and scientific thought.”

Stryker’s talk considers the notion of “plastic aesthetics” which is utilized to “extend recent work in trans studies on the relationship between race, whiteness, and the capacity for socio-somatic transformation in the direction of a psychedelic transformation of consciousness …”

You may differ, but I’ve often wondered about the relationship between race, whiteness, and the capacity for socio-somatic transformation in the direction of a psychedelic transformation of consciousness … !

MORE: School won’t say what’s in its ‘LGBTQ Sex Education’ workshop

MORE: University offers workshops for ‘kink,’ ‘queer sex’

IMAGE: pathdoc / Shutterstock.com

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.