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Monday, November 10, 2008

Mixing methods, gender, and sex

I try to be a positive person, and with that, I want to talk about the session, or rather, presentation, I was particularly excited to see.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a student presentation on almost the exact same topic I’m hoping to look at within my masters thesis: transmasculine sexual identity and fluidity. As his PowerPoint began I was greeted with a familiar literature review on transgender and FTM research, including similar points and criticisms that I was beginning to formulate. As his talk progressed to the findings, I had that familiar ‘oh!’ moment that those of us working in sexuality, gender and ethnic studies to name a few fields, often have after a piece of the consciousness puzzle falls into place. By looking at survey data, and subsequently quantitative analysis, his research focused on sexual identity and behaviors pre- and post-transition among an incredibly large (hundreds) group of transmen, painting a larger picture than I had not previously seen. I was thrilled to see this work being done, even more so to see the work being done in a way I hadn’t thought about. After the session was over, I went over to introduce myself, and to talk with him more about what he was doing, and how the qualitative work I hope to do, will be helped immensely by what he’s doing and potentially vice versa. To me, this is what I hoped SSSS would be about, sharing great research and networking with people from all over the world. I left the presentations with a revitalization of ideas, and a more profound sense of what it meant to share, and goals for working together.

As a graduate student, time goes by where I eat, sleep, and breathe research methods. What this conference has done is placed those methods in the larger context of work in sexuality, and not just articles and books. Mixed methods to me is so much more than just bringing together the qualitative and quantitative. Rather, people, topics, conflicts, and conversations come together to try and do the best that they can. Since this is a blog from San Juan, I’d like to end by imagining that there’s enough room in this sexy sandbox called research that we can all play in.

-richard garcia

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