The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender
Published by: NYU Press
224 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm
- ISBN: 9781479899371
- Published: June 2021
A rich examination of the history of trans medicine and current day practice
Surfacing in the mid-twentieth century, yet shrouded in social stigma, transgender medicine is now a rapidly growing medical field. In Trans Medicine, stef shuster makes an important intervention in how we understand the development of this field and how it is being used to “treat” gender identity today.
Drawing on interviews with medical providers as well as ethnographic and archival research, shuster examines how health professionals approach patients who seek gender-affirming care. From genital reconstructions to hormone injections, the practice of trans medicine charts new medical ground, compelling medical professionals to plan treatments without widescale clinical trials to back them up. Relying on cultural norms and gut instincts to inform their treatment plans, shuster shows how medical providers’ lack of clinical experience and scientific research undermines their ability to interact with patients, craft treatment plans, and make medical decisions. This situation defies how providers are trained to work with patients and creates uncertainty. As providers navigate the developing knowledge surrounding the medical care of trans folk, Trans Medicine offers a rare opportunity to understand how providers make decisions while facing challenges to their expertise and, in the process, have acquired authority not only over clinical outcomes, but over gender itself.
Trans Medicine is a brilliant study of how the context of scientific uncertainty shapes the ways medical professionals work with trans people. While appreciating the dilemmas facing doctors, shuster holds them accountable for upholding normative understandings of gender essentialism. This beautifully rendered story of medical improvisation and the search for professional credibility will be of great interest to readers of transgender studies, medical sociology, and the sociology of knowledge. ~Arlene Stein, author of Unbound: Transgender Men and the Remaking of Identity
Trans Medicine is original, empirically rich, and beautifully written. shuster masterfully integrates a wide range of data with a nuanced theoretical story of power, control, and medical regulation. This is truly an urgently needed study that is a must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of gender, sexuality, bodies and embodiment, and healthcare. ~Georgiann Davis, author of Contesting Intersex: The Dubious Diagnosis
A powerful examination of the history and present of medical providers seeking to 'treat gender.' Demonstrating how uncertainty unsettles the relationship between expertise, evidence, and clinical decision-making, Trans Medicine illuminates the path to a more inclusive, gender-affirming health care system. ~Rene Almeling, author of GUYnecology: The Missing Science of Men's Reproductive Health