about stef shuster

stef shuster is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Sociology. shuster earned their M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Iowa with a certificate in Gender Studies, and a B.A. in Sociology from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Broadly, their research and teaching interests include medical sociology, gender, inequality, and social movements.

They are currently working on a book project, entitled Treating Gender: Transgender Medicine and Uncertain Expertise, which situates contemporary practices in trans medicine in the historical contexts in which this medical field emerged. Using a mixed-methods strategy, shuster argues that while 1950s-era U.S. trans medicine was deeply pathologizing of trans people's experience, contemporary practices have not necessarily improved. The drive to normalize trans people in the 1950s has been replaced with normalizing the practice of trans medicine, which has been and is being achieved by constructing standardized forms of evidence such as diagnostic criteria and clinical guidelines, that are institutionally legitimated, yet medically unsubstantiated. Treating Gender shows that the gender identity component of trans healthcare raises a distinct set of concerns for how providers use familiar tools – like clinical guidelines – in an unfamiliar medical arena. This research reveals that increasing reliance upon standardized medical practices for the treatment of gender may be detrimental to the patients, as providers are unable to accommodate nuances in gender identity and expression.

stef shuster

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