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New Wave - Young Boston Feminists Message Board › Transgender Language Research

Transgender Language Research

A former member
Post #: 9

My name is Cynthia Simonoff and I am an undergraduate at Brandeis University participating in an experiential learning semester of ethnographic fieldwork. I’m conducting a research project studying gender and language in the Greater Boston Area. The aim of this study is to explore the ways in which traditional concepts of the way “men” and “women” speak apply or don’t apply to trans*-identified people and to consider how this affects how genders are read from/ascribed to people. Some questions my research will be attempting to answer are things like: Does speaking in particular ways (or avoiding speaking in particular ways) help trans* people perform their gender to the greater population? Can genders be accurately guessed from speech? If so, how?

I’m looking for volunteers for my project and there are many different ways in which one can participate. In general, in order to participate in this research you must have familiarity with the trans* community (either through personal, social, or professional experience), speak English as your first language, be above the age of 18, have no handicaps that would effect your ability to speak or carry on a coherent conversation, and be willing to participate in the research. If you meet all of these qualifications you can participate in this research in the following ways:

1. You can be interviewed! Interviews last approximately 1 hour, are audio-recoded, and are conducted at a time and place of your choosing.

2. You can participate in a focus group! The focus group will be up to 10 people large, will be audio-recoded, and will meet at a time and place of the group’s choosing and may meet more than once.

3. You can complete an online interview! You will take a brief online interview that will ask you questions about how you perceive genders in other people linguistically and your own experiences with gender and language. This offers a more confidential/anonymous option for people who may feel uncomfortable with audio-recording, face-to-face interaction, and/or revealing their name.

4. You can invite me to observe your group (friend group, organization, social event, meeting, etc) in conversation! I'm very much interested in observing live conversations in natural settings such as social events or group meetings. If you think you and a group you belong to (could be an organization or simply a group of friends) might be interested in coming to let me observe and have a large percentage of members that self-identify as trans* (meaning the umbrella term, anything and everything that is gender-fluid/alternative), please let me know and I can give you more information about what observation might entail!

If you would like to volunteer for one of the above opportunities please just shoot me an email (email is listed below).

I want to let you know that all participation in this project is voluntary and confidential. If you would like to know more about my data collection process, what kinds of data I will be collecting, or confidentiality or consent protocols, or even just more about the general project please just let me know! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns would be more than happy to address those via email ( or, if you are more comfortable, by phone (603-490-3870).

Please feel free to pass this information on to anyone who you think might be interested!

Thank you so very much!

A former member
Post #: 36

I'm curious about the results of your research. When do you think you will be done? Will you publish your findings here?


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