Trans Studies, Trans Lives: Past, Present, and Future

deadline for submissions: 
March 3, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
University College London

Call for Papers

Trans Studies, Trans Lives: Past, Present, and Future

In 2018, the Human Rights Campaign described anti-transgender violence in the US as “A National Epidemic”; the New York Times reported, “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration”. In the UK, trans identities have been subject to similar attacks, with The Times publishing 323 largely critical articles on transgender rights and lives in 2018 alone. In response to the hostility, violence, and misunderstandings perpetrated against trans people, the UCL Grand Challenges programme (GCJE – Justice & Equality) has funded a one-day symposium to celebrate Trans Studies and Trans Lives.

This symposium seeks to recognize the difficult histories and structural issues faced by trans people, but also to ensure the present and future of trans people’s lives are not defined by oppression. We aim to showcase the endurance, joy, and creativity of the trans community with a selection of academic, autobiographical, and creative pieces on the theme of trans studies and trans lives.


Keynote Speakers
Prof. Stephen Whittle (Law; Manchester Met), Dr. Meg John Barker (Psychology; Open University)

Additional speakers include Prof. Robert Mills (Medieval art; UCL), Prof. Ann Heilmann (Victorian literature; Cardiff), and Prof. Susan Rudy (Contemporary literature; QMUL).


Call for Papers

The symposium will be held on May 25th, 2019, at the IAS Common Ground, Gower St, London.

We invite academic, autobiographical, and creative pieces of approximately 20 minutes in length on the theme of Trans Studies and/or Trans Lives. As well as academic papers, we also encourage nonacademic perspectives and as less conventional pieces. We welcome engagements with any aspect of trans and/or nonbinary identities. Suggested responses may include, but are not limited to:

  • Autobiographical pieces on ‘living as trans’
  • Transness and race
  • Transness and the academy
  • Transness and NHS and/or private healthcare
  • Analyses of legal difficulties faced by trans people
  • Analyses of online transphobia and harassment
  • Responses to the proposed changes in the GRA
  • Responses to transnational trans politics
  • Media representations of transness
  • Trans in film and literature
  • Fiction or poetry on trans themes
  • Short films on trans themes

Abstracts and proposals should be approximately 250 words in length. Please include a short (100 word) biography with your submission. If your submission is a creative piece, please also include an example of your output, such as a 500 word writing sample, a 2 page portfolio (for visual art), or a film sample.

Submissions should be sent to by March 3rd 2019.

A limited number of small travel bursaries are available for students or those in precarious or low/non-waged employment. If you would like to be considered for these, please include a short statement with your submission explaining your need.


Convenors: Dr Ella Metcalfe, Dr Christine ‘Xine’ Yao, Dr Ezra Horbury

Funded by UCL Grand Challenges (GCJE – Justice & Equality), supported by qUCL and the Institute for Advanced Studies.