Special Issue of Educational Researcher Aims to Advance Trans Research in K-12 Education
Special Issue of Educational Researcher Aims to Advance Trans Research in K-12 Education

July 2022

A newly released special issue of Educational Researcher, titled “Trans Studies in K–12 Education,” focuses on trans studies—and trans justice—in K–12 education and the critical need for this emergent field in education research. The introduction to the special issue argues that education research can and must play a pivotal part in creating and fostering equitable systems and inclusive educational spaces for students and employees of all gender identities, not just for those who are cisgender. It also calls on education researchers to actively and ethically engage with transgender knowledge, scholarship, and the history of gender’s societal role to better inform policy makers, communities, and educators.

In their introduction, Melinda M. Mangin (Rutgers University) and her editorial team note that “while scholars should expand this work, the field of education should not replicate the shortcomings of past research.” They ask that the field “recognize the value of trans epistemologies for informing high-quality education research and increasing our capacity to dismantle oppressive, cisnormative systems,” warning that “new research trajectories should not mirror or compound the racist, deficit perspectives and pathologizing ideologies that previous research has applied to transgender people, knowledge, and experiences.” The special issue comes at a time when bills targeting LGBTQ individuals have been introduced into legislation at an overwhelming rate—more than 200 since the special issue was sent to press in May 2022.

In addition to the introduction, the special issue—which is provided open access on the AERA website—includes two conceptual articles, two empirical studies, and a research brief, listed below. The articles offer conceptual and theoretical framing, original research, and recommendations for further advancing trans studies in K–12 education.

  • “Methodology as Pedagogy: Trans Lives, Social Science, and the Possibilities of Education Research,” Harper B. Keenan (University of British Columbia)
  • “Sex, Gender, and Education Research: The Case for Transgender Studies in Education,” Elizabeth J. Meyer (University of Colorado Boulder)
  • “Teachers’ Strategies for Supporting Transgender and/or Gender-Expansive Elementary School Students,” Melinda M. Mangin (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
  • “A Starting Point: Gender, Hot Cognition, and Trans-Informed Administrative Guidance,” Mollie T. McQuillan (University of Wisconsin–Madison)
  • “Differences in Trans Employees’ and Students’ School Experiences,” Mario I. Suárez (Utah State University), Mollie T. McQuillan (University of Wisconsin–Madison), Harper B. Keenan (University of British Columbia), and Lee Iskander (University of British Columbia)

Learn more about Educational Researcher on the AERA website.