[ONLINE] University of Aveiro, Portugal

October 21, 22 and 23 2020

The intersectional matrix of oppressions of trans people in Brazil and Portugal

Liliana Rodrigues
Nuno Santos Carneiro
Conceição Nogueira

The history of the (bio)psychomedical studies on transsexualities is not new. Since the 1950s, it has been characterized by many attempts to classify people whose identities do not correspond to the gender assigned at birth (i.e. trans people). Along with these processes of categorization, the institutions and the social, political and scientific speeches have contributed to the discrimination and violence against trans people.

Based on a perspective that is psychological, feminist, critical and intersectional, this communication aims to address the intersectional matrix of oppressions in the (de)construction of trans identities.

This communication is part of a study on the (de)construction of trans identities. Thirty-five semi-structured interviews were carried out with people who self-identify as trans, transsexual, and transvestite, in Brazil and Portugal. The speeches of people participating in this study were organized according to the thematic analysis method (Braun & Clarke, 2006), which allowed seven main themes to emerge, namely: the processes of identity subjectivation, the perceptions on transsexuality(ies), the rights and the (non-)recognition of “human”, the intersectional matrix of oppressions, the (bio)psychomedical interventions, the (de)pathologization of transsexualities and the self- perception of support, as well as the (non-)acceptance after coming out. In this communication, we will focus our discussion on the “intersectional matrix of oppressions”.

The main conclusions of this theme include: the place of the non-white and “poor”, social class as a privilege, the place of gender, the privilege of heteronormativity, the privilege of cisnormativity, activism as a privilege and the geographical location as a privilege. These conclusions allowed to identify the matrix of oppressions. For some trans people who belong to disadvantaged social classes, the recognition of their rights is not always guaranteed, which makes them more vulnerable to transphobia in certain contexts, namely in terms of health and education. The study has also concluded that identifying as female or male or not accepting gender binarism have a different impact on the experiences of discrimination of a specific person. In addition, for some people, the fact of being trans and having non-normative sexual orientations adds vulnerability to their experiences.

Stigma also depends on how much trans people can reproduce cisnormativity, that is the idea that cis bodies are more valued, legitimate and accepted than trans bodies. In addition, activism creates a context of protection or privilege for the people who have access to it, which is made possible through sharing and recognition by “equals”, and becomes a way of adding resources (and knowledge/acknowledgment) to their personal and collective lives. The study also concluded that people who live in large urban centers

have access to more information and more specific health care. Furthermore, these urban centers are places where trans people usually suffer less from discrimination.

Based on a commitment to social transformation, this communication contributes to deepen the critical thinking on the experiences of trans people relating to their intersectional matrix of oppressions and on the processes of exclusion to which they are subjected. It also discusses the main needs and specificities of this social group in order to participate in the implementation of public policies and in the development of psychological positioning that promotes gender diversity and social justice.

Keywords: gender; human rights; trans feminism; intersectionality; (de)pathologization.