Stealing the story

After quite a bit of deliberation, I decided that I’m not going to the North Central Sociological Association conference this year.

This is the first time in several years that I’ve not presented an academic paper at a conference, and there’s two big reasons.

The first is simply cash flow. Not much needs to be said about that, right?

The second, though, is because of what my paper ended up being about.

It was supposed to be a paper looking at the experiences of several transgender students at a midwestern campus. I’ll likely share the paper online somewhere, but it’s not appropriate for this conference. Somewhere in the research project, it started being about me.

I realized, through the course of doing the research, that these individuals did not have “transgendered” problems. They had the same problems that every other student had – and then had a few more that other people forced onto them. The problems did not originate with the transgendered students, they originated with everyone else.

Including me, as I tried to separate them into some separate, special group.

The paper ended up being focused on me, and how I came to that revelation.

I ended up making it into my story instead of theirs. That process of revelation is something important. I’ll talk more about it here, later.

But I suspect that telling that to a group of sociologists there to talk about gender identity would be rather like telling politicians that they need votes to be elected.

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