Trans/forming Technology or: The Gender Session

I’m interested in the potential implications of new technologies for individual and cultural understandings of gender, and for social justice initiatives specifically focused on gender justice. A few topics that seem worth thinking about:

  • The uses of technology in gender-related activism: for example, projects like have used collaborative mapping to provide a resource for those seeking gender-neutral public bathrooms.
  • The impact of “real name” cultures and policies on trans* users
  • Access to alternative gender identifications online:  G+’s provision of an “other” gender category — originally created for privacy purposes — received mainstream media attention in connection with trends towards increased visibility of gender nonconformity. On the other hand, while Facebook allows users to hide their gender in their profiles, it now requires individuals to identify themselves as either female or male. I’m interested in the state’s regulation of gender categories, and it seems like there are interesting comparisons to be made here.
There’s a lot more to consider, I’m sure, but those are some ideas to start.
Categories: Session Proposals |

About Matt Kopas

I am an MA candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington with research interests in trans* and queer studies, embodiment, sexuality, and technologies. My master's thesis -- currently in progress -- is an inquiry into the practice of gender segregation in public bathrooms. Using group interview methods, I seek to understand the discourses that arise when people are confronted with the possibilities of configuring bathroom spaces in new and previously unimagined ways that can threaten cherished and taken-for-granted social boundaries.