Queering Families: The Postmodern Partnerships of Cisgender Women and Transgender Men

color image of upside down tree, with text that says "Queering Families"
Carla Pfeffer, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies, University of South Carolina
Event Date: 
December 6, 2016
Event Time: 
4:10pm to 5:30pm
2239 Lane Hall
Event Accessibility : 
Ramp and elevator access at the E. Washington Street entrance (by the loading dock). There are accessible restrooms on the south end of Lane Hall, on each floor of the building. A gender neutral restroom is available on the first floor.
Event Tags: 
color image of upside down tree, with text that says "Queering Families"

Ozzie and Harriet, move over. A new couple is moving into the neighborhood. In the postmodern era, advances in medical technologies allow some individuals categorized female at birth to live in accordance with their gender identities, as men. While a growing body of literature on transgender men's experiences has come to the forefront, relatively little exists to document the experiences of their partners.

In Queering Families: The Postmodern Partnerships of Cisgender Women and Transgender Men, Carla A. Pfeffer brings these experiences to light through interviews with the group most likely to partner and form families with transgender men: non-transgender (cisgender) women. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with fifty cisgender women partners of transgender men from across the United States and Canada, Pfeffer details the experiences of a community that often seems unremarkable and ordinary on its surface. Cisgender women who partner with transgender men who are socially "read" as male are often (mis)perceived as part of a heterosexual couple or family. Yet not all cisgender women who partner with transgender men are comfortable with this invisible existence and comfortable normativity. Instead, many of the cisgender women Pfeffer interviews hold deeply-valued queer identities that may be erased in their partnerships with transgender men. 

In this talk, Pfeffer will detail the struggles and strengths of these postmodern "Harriets" as they work to build identities, partnerships, families, and communities.

Carla A. Pfeffer completed her doctoral work at the University of Michigan. She currently holds a joint appointment in Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina. Her research, employing qualitative and mixed-methods approaches, considers thorny intersections between social stigma, identity, resistance, and structure.

Cosponsored by IRWG, the Lesbian-Gay-Queer Research Initiative, and the Departments of Sociology and Women's Studies.