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Home > Events > The Clinic and Elsewhere Speaker Series: Eric Plemons, "Surgery Without Surgeons: How Clinical Gaps Shape Trans-Embodiment"

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The Clinic and Elsewhere Speaker Series: Eric Plemons, "Surgery Without Surgeons: How Clinical Gaps Shape Trans-Embodiment"

CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER. Eric Plemons, Assistant Professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, explores the impact that the decades-long insurance exclusion of trans-surgery, including restricted patient access, limited development and circulation of technical skills to perform the procedures, and a lack of effective administrative processes needed to integrate these services into existing clinical workflows.
by Betsy VanNoy Feb 19, 2019
When Feb 20, 2019
from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Where CANCELED
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CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER.

Eric Plemons, Assistant Professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, explores the impact that the decades-long insurance exclusion of trans-surgery, including restricted patient access, limited development and circulation of technical skills to perform the procedures, and a lack of effective administrative processes needed to integrate these services into existing clinical workflows.

Speaker Series: The Clinic and Elsewhere - Critical Conversations on Trans and Intersex Wellness

Speaker: Eric Plemons

Title: Surgery without Surgeons: how clinical gaps shape trans-embodiment

Abstract: Since 2014, public and private insurance coverage for transgender Americans’ surgical care has increased exponentially. Training clinicians and equipping institutions to meet the surge in demand has not been as rapid. Through ethnographic research at a surgical workshop focused on trans- genital reconstruction and in a US hospital working to grow its transgender health program, in this talk I show that effects of the decades-long insurance exclusion of trans- surgery are not easily remedied through the recent event of its inclusion because patient access is not the only thing that has been restricted by coverage denial. Lack of funding has also limited the development and circulation of technical skills required to perform these procedures, and the administrative processes needed to integrate them into existing clinical workflows. A close look at the growing practice of facial feminization surgery—desired by many prospective patients but outside the logic of contemporary trans- therapeutics—makes clear that gaps in clinical logic continue to shape how, as what, and by whom practices of surgically mediated trans- embodiment are materialized. 

Bio: Eric Plemons is Assistant Professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. As a medical anthropologist and clinical ethnographer, Dr. Plemons's research focuses on the politics and practice of transgender medicine and surgery. His first book, The Look of a Woman: facial feminization surgery and the aims of trans- medicine (Duke University Press, 2017) was awarded the 2017 Ruth Benedict Prize for outstanding monograph by the Association for Queer Anthropology. His current research examines the ways the US institutions are responding to a growing demand for transgender healthcare.

The Clinic and Elsewhere speaker series is sponsored by the Gender and Sex Equity Initiative of the Rock Ethics Institute (REI) and is convened by Hilary Malatino, a core faculty member of the REI and Assistant Professor in the Department of Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State.