Trans* in College
Transgender Students' Strategies for Navigating Campus Life and the Institutional Politics of Inclusion
by Z. Nicolazzo
This is both a personal book that offers an account of the author's own trans identity and a deeply engaged study of trans collegians that reveals the complexities of trans identities, and how these students navigate the trans oppression present throughout society and their institutions, create community and resilience, and establish meaning and control in a world that assumes binary genders.
This book is addressed as much to trans students themselves-- offering them a framework to understand the genders that mark them as different and to address the feelings brought on by the weight of that difference-- as it is to faculty, student affairs professionals, and college administrators, opening up the implications for the classroom and the wider campus.
This book not only remedies the paucity of literature on trans college students, but does so from a perspective of resiliency and agency. Rather than situating trans students as problems requiring accommodation, this book problematizes the college environment and frames trans students as resilient individuals capable of participating in supportive communities and kinship networks, and of developing strategies to promote their own success.
Z Nicolazzo provides the reader with a nuanced and illuminating review of the literature on gender and sexuality that sheds light on the multiplicity of potential expressions and outward representations of trans identity as a prelude to the ethnography ze conducted with nine trans collegians that richly documents their interactions with, and responses to, environments ranging from the unwittingly offensive to explicitly antagonistic.
The book concludes by giving space to the study's participants to themselves share what they want college faculty, staff, and students to know about their lived experiences. Two appendices respectively provide a glossary of vocabulary and terms to address commonly asked questions, and a description of the study design, offered as guide for others considering working alongside marginalized population in a manner that foregrounds ethics, care, and reciprocity.