Event Title

Go Fund Inequality: Trans Healthcare Online

Presenter Information

Elly Higgins, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center A255

Start Date

10-27-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

10-27-2017 5:50 PM

Abstract

Access to healthcare which covers transgender related medical practices is a relative rarity for transgender people, leaving many to pay tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket for procedures like hair removal and mastectomies. Many turn to crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe to afford these procedures, which is why this summer I examined the ways in which transgender people use online funding sites to pay for transition related medical care. I coded and analyzed over 400 GoFundMe campaigns based upon who was using this site and what narratives transgender people were telling about themselves and their identity. The research was looking at how these narratives fit into or diverged from the standard transgender narrative (i.e. I always knew that I wasn’t like most girls…) and how they positioned their request for money (i.e. I work two jobs but still can’t afford to pay for this procedure…). Our research connected these narratives with bigger themes such as neoliberal notions of work and deservingness, politics of desirability and of binary ideas of gender and the gendered body. While this research is ongoing, we found that trans people often relied on traditional transgender narratives, neoliberal understandings of work, and narratives of pain and suffering to justify their desire for medically transitioning. This project points to the ways in which crowdfunding can (and cannot) be used as a supplement to health care, and the neoliberal ideology that pervades even a supposedly radical group of people.

Notes

Session II, Panel 6 - Digital | Resources
Moderator: Cortney Smith, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Rhetoric & Composition

Major

English

Project Mentor(s)

Chris Barcelos, Gender & Women's Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Oct 27th, 4:30 PM Oct 27th, 5:50 PM

Go Fund Inequality: Trans Healthcare Online

Science Center A255

Access to healthcare which covers transgender related medical practices is a relative rarity for transgender people, leaving many to pay tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket for procedures like hair removal and mastectomies. Many turn to crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe to afford these procedures, which is why this summer I examined the ways in which transgender people use online funding sites to pay for transition related medical care. I coded and analyzed over 400 GoFundMe campaigns based upon who was using this site and what narratives transgender people were telling about themselves and their identity. The research was looking at how these narratives fit into or diverged from the standard transgender narrative (i.e. I always knew that I wasn’t like most girls…) and how they positioned their request for money (i.e. I work two jobs but still can’t afford to pay for this procedure…). Our research connected these narratives with bigger themes such as neoliberal notions of work and deservingness, politics of desirability and of binary ideas of gender and the gendered body. While this research is ongoing, we found that trans people often relied on traditional transgender narratives, neoliberal understandings of work, and narratives of pain and suffering to justify their desire for medically transitioning. This project points to the ways in which crowdfunding can (and cannot) be used as a supplement to health care, and the neoliberal ideology that pervades even a supposedly radical group of people.