Re-thinking School Spaces for Transgender, Non-binary and Gender Diverse Youth : Trans-ing the School Washroom book cover
1st Edition

Re-thinking School Spaces for Transgender, Non-binary and Gender Diverse Youth
Trans-ing the School Washroom

  • Available for pre-order on May 31, 2023. Item will ship after June 21, 2023
ISBN 9780367435738
June 21, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
272 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

Positing the washroom as an onto-epistemological site which exemplifies the way in which school spaces govern how gender is experienced, normalized, and understood by youth, this text illustrates how current school policies and practices around bathrooms fail to dismantle cisnormativity and recognize trans lives.

Drawing on media-policy analysis, empirical study, and arts-based methodologies, it demonstrates how school spaces must be re-thought via a trans-centred epistemology, to be reflected in teacher education, policy, and curricula. Beginning with a review of the theoretical constellation of the heterotopia and critical trans-ing informing the analysis of data, it moves to offer a critical media and policy analysis of how trans and gender diverse students are de-limited, erased, or harmed. This position is supported by analysis of empirical data from a school bathroom project, including student photographs of washrooms, and other visual expressions of gender diverse and gender complex individuals. These elements - the media-policy analysis, the empirical study, and the archival online material - ultimately combine to offer new justifications for critical trans-informed policies and practices in education that recognize and centre trans and gender diverse knowledges, expressions and experiences.

Centering the specific and nuanced debates around trans phenomena via an innovative methodology, it makes a unique and extremely timely contribution to the debate on gender-inclusive bathrooms, as well as trans rights to self-identification. As such, it will appeal to scholars, postgraduates, educators, and faculty working in the area of gender and sexuality in education, with interests in trans phenomena.

Table of Contents

1. The Washroom Problem in Schools: from Heterotopia to Trans-ing Spaces for Trans-Affirming Education 2. Media, Policy and Activism: Rethinking Trans Mis-representation and Mis-recognition through Critical Trans-ing 3. Methodological Conundrums and Confessionals: Accessing Risky Space, Bracketing Researcher Reflexivity and Accounting for Trans Onto-epistemologies 4. From Bathroom Problem to Bathroom Project: A Case Study 5. Mapping Other School Spaces as Sites of Regulation and Refusal 6. Gender Expansive Education and Enhancing Trans Self-Expression in Schools Conclusion

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Jennifer Ingrey is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.


"This is an excellent book! […] Through sharing a range of case studies each chapter individually offers inspiring, yet never unnuanced, pictures that frame how transgender and gender diverse students have sought to reclaim gendered institutional space and counter institutional discourse, whilst navigating considerable backlash to their efforts. […] It underscores how heterotopic spaces allow for temporary but productive examinations into the institutional foreclosures affecting, and the complex terms conditioning, young peoples’ resistant self-understandings of gender. The work ultimately pushes for gender expansive institutional commitments, positing that trans recognition and liveability are always already ontologically present. It probes the limits, and costs, to recognizability for trans and gender diverse people in education settings via analyses of media, policy, and empirical data." - Professor Tiffany Jones, Macquarie University, Australia

"While focused on the perennial challenge of binary gendered spaces in schools, Ingrey also addresses a question related to both space and methodology: "are you in the right place?" Noting the invitation from transgender theories to consider the process of "trans-ing," Ingrey suggests that the challenges of trans exclusion can and must be addressed by trans and cis scholars alike. Given the anxieties that private-in-public spaces like restrooms generate for most people and for transgender and gender creative people in particular, this invitation to consider space and method with and beyond subjectivity usefully engages the institutional exclusions and student creativity in schools." - Cris Mayo, The University of Vermont, USA

"In this book Jennifer C. Ingrey addresses the school washroom problem as a way to launch into the central thesis of this book: to ensure that schools, policymakers, teachers and researchers take heed of the centrality of trans embodiment and trans experiences in schooling. The school washroom and other spaces in school are used to examine the question of what trans livability looks like. The book clearly makes the case for addressing the ways in which schools and school spaces contribute to or disrupt cisgenderism. A transaffirmative agenda is what holds this book together. Through discussions that take the reader through media, policy and activism, the school washroom problem is elucidated in order to make a space for a trans informed analysis of school spaces. Key to this analysis is the need for transaffirming practices that accentuate the complexity of trans embodiment and gender diversity while making a strong case for a gender expansive framework in schooling. The problem of the school washroom and associated spaces is not simply a problem of and in schools but is informed by broader transphobic institutional contexts where trans misrecognition remains salient. Jennifer C. Ingrey interrogates these issues and asks questions about trans livability in schooling contexts that are at once both complicit in and key sites for potentially addressing transphobia. The book is essential reading for understanding why schools can no longer ignore trans embodiment and argues strongly for ending the dehumanising experiences in schools by advocating for a politics of refusal and gender expansive interventions that go beyond tokenism and are embedded in the constant interrogation of cisgenderism and cisnormativity." - Deevia Bhana, University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

"Ingrey manages to shift the focus away from trans youth themselves (their bodies, their suicides, their pain), as she explores how to make schools more livable for them. She rejects the tired trope of the trans spectacle; instead, under her razor-sharp gaze are the spaces that systematically and constantly produce their exclusion. We find ourselves sitting in the surveilling and exposing spaces of gender-segregated school toilets, seeing (and hearing and smelling...) the pervasive messages of cisgenderism and cissexism, and we don’t have to be trans to start to understand what these mean for those who are. A trans-affirming education is everyone’s business, and Ingrey shows how we might get started."  - Renée DePalma, University of A Coruña - Spain


"This is an excellent book that uses a trans-informed analysis of school spaces to argue that current school policies and practices are failing trans students. Dr. Ingrey uses the concept heterotopias to think about the washroom as a site in which gender is experienced, managed and regulated by youth. Through a trans informed framework, each chapter offers a case study to explore trans lives and provides a strong analysis of school spaces that are relationally intertwined in gender regimes. Dr. Ingrey’s thorough and rich investigation of these issues is supported by her engagement with empirical data from a study about an arts-based project by high school students in two Ontario secondary schools. Her compelling analysis considers the confessional space of the washroom and the ways that youth work to reclaim the space. In another chapter, Dr. Ingrey’s deep engagement with trans theory and an investigation of media representations of trans people provides a strong analysis of the terms of trans recognizability. This is an essential book for educators and scholars seeking to learn more about trans-affirming education practices and the ways that cisnormativity continues to dominate school spaces." - Julia Sinclair-Palm, Carleton University, Canada