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Researchers' statement

In the spirit of openness and self-reflexivity, we want to acknowledge the positions and experiences that we bring to the Being and Becoming a Femboy project.

Here we explain how we think they may contribute to the questions we ask and the interpretations we make, and outline the principles that underpin the project as a whole.

Positionality

There are three researchers equally involved in this project.

  • Alon (they/them) is a queer non-binary person. They hope that their experience as a gender-nonconforming person can help relate and empathise with co-researchers. They have not worked in research with young people before, but as an experienced advisor for LGBTQ+ students they are confident they can find ways to make everyone feel comfortable.
  • Dalila (she/her) is a cisgender woman. She is an intersectional and trans-inclusive feminist scholar and activist. She has worked with marginalised communities, especially migrants and women, to study their socio-cultural experiences of media and cinema. She has experience with participatory methodologies and firmly believes in the importance of providing a safe and dialogical space to her co-researchers .
  • Carmel (she/her) is a gender-conforming woman. She has experience working with young co-researchers and using Photovoice to explore sensitive and difficult topics. She sees herself as open to people's choices in life in a non-judgemental way, and wants to provide a space in which co-researchers can express their experiences with minimum interpretation by others.

All three of us work as a team and share responsibility for all stages of the research process. We have regular discussions to ensure that our decisions are guided by our collective cultural knowledge and expertise.

In the design of this project we consulted with Dr Ben Vincent, an expert in inclusive and ethical research with trans communities.

Principles

Our research is conducted in the spirit of inclusion, equality and personal autonomy.

We are firmly committed to challenging not only transphobia and homophobia, but also ableism, ageism, classism, sexism, racism, colourism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, antisemitism and any intersectional forms of marginalisation.

We designed this project with these principles in mind:

We are not here to speak over you

  • We want this project to centre femboy voices, so that it can explain how the community sees itself, not anyone else's preconceptions.
  • We would have loved to ensure that by having at least one femboy in the team, but we don't know any such scholars. We've gone for the next best option and made this a participatory project where what you say and how you say it is entirely up to you.
  • The project is designed to give you the chance to explain your thoughts, feelings and experiences in your own terms, and we will stick as closely as possible to them when we summarise and present themin any publications.

We are not here to police your identity

  • We believe that no-one has any business deciding what it is to be a femboy other than femboys themselves.
  • We intend this to be an entirely affirming space.
  • Both in the research process and in any publications, we will never question your identity or your belonging to a community - or, conversely, assign you an identity or community membership that you haven't chosen yourself.

We are not here to pathologise, marginalise or exclude you

  • We do not believe in hierarchies in gender identity or expression.
  • It is not our role to judge the way you do gender by any standards - cisnormative, transnormative or otherwise.

We are not here to do anything without your enthusiastic consent

  • We want this project to give people a chance to speak their mind, but only if and how they want to.
  • We will make sure you understand what is being asked of you before collecting any data and give you a chance to ask questions.
  • You can change your mind and withdraw from the project at any time and without giving any explanations.