Trans theory at its best asks us to reorient our genealogies and our epistemology to begin with a different set of questions. It grounds in the body but navigates via the internet. Trans had been theorized as the excess beyond the borders of queer even while queer claims to
transpose and translate across borders. But trans is the fulcrum on which queer pivots. Trans is the fetish that props up queer even as queer decenters the (cisgender) heterosexual. At the same time trans can become trapped in the same narratives of ahistorical omnipresence...
And therefore trans theory does more than extend queer theory or pick up where it left off. Instead trans theory recognizes the potential utility of positivism, where queer theory is anti-empirical. Trans theory, or rather trans studies, is strategic and, when done well, grounded
In the lives realities of trans people’s lives and bent toward improving our material conditions. Queer theory is still stuck in conversations about norms and their historical origins. Trans studies has a more complex and interesting relationship to norms/normativity
Trans is a vector, a line that meets at one tangential point with the circle of queer theory and queer theory was born out of that tangent. If queer theory built itself on sexuality, then it’s beholden to the visibility of gender nonconformity and indebted to it.
Trans studies can blend and pass or reject the very notion of passing altogether. Queer theory searches for utopia on the horizon. Trans studies is a realist because the theorists have been to edge of what is imagined as possible for our bodies and their capacity to transform.
This is a rant and it’s messy but it was inspired by @mckenziewark and the question she tweeted earlier that her student posed about what does trans theory have to say to cis people that queer theory doesn’t. Didn’t wanna blow up your thread with a seven tweet reply lol.