Schooling, Bureaucratic Encounters, and Transgender Men’s Livelihood Pathways in Northern-India
Anshu Jain

About the research

Award

NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year

2024

Institution

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Primary Discipline

Trans/Gender Studies
The current moment, marked by calls for trans equality and inclusion globally, has resulted on the one hand in legislative measures aimed at mainstreaming gender minorities, and on the other hand in a transphobic backlash and a rollback of rights in many countries. In India, while transgender people were recognized as citizens with equal protections in 2014, state violence on their bodies continues, and trans people's access to civil rights and social protections, as well as their ability to earn a livelihood, remains restricted by a labyrinthine bureaucratic system and contradictory public logics of rights, inclusion, and gender norms. This dissertation explores the intersections of bureaucratic encounters, state policies, and the educational and livelihood experiences of transgender men in Hindi-speaking northern India. In this comparative ethnography of diverse transgender men's experiences in a metropolitan and a non-metropolitan city in northern India, I draw on the fields of transgender studies and anthropology of education and policy to study transgender men's encounters with educational and state bureaucracies; their experiences as students, citizens, and activists; the situated impacts of these experiences and encounters on transmen's livelihood pathways; and transmen’s efforts to transform social, educational, and bureaucratic logics and practices to support more stable livelihoods. This study provides valuable methodological and theoretical contributions to the literature on making education relevant and equitable for trans people, and directions for trans policy and trans politics in India.
About Anshu Jain
Anshu Jain is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dissertation research, funded by the Graduate Training Program Award (School of Education, UW-Madison) and by the LGBTQ+ Studies Dissertation Fellowship (Center for Research on Gender and Women, UW-Madison), is an ethnographic account of the lives of transgender men in Hindi-speaking regions of northern India. His work focuses on understanding transmen’s encounters with educational and state bureaucracies; their experiences as students, citizens, and activists; and their efforts to transform social, educational, and bureaucratic logics and practices that govern their lives. Anshu grew up in a non-metropolitan city in north India, and later spent most of his youth in New Delhi, where he first experienced life as a transgender man. Prior to joining UW-Madison, he obtained a master’s degree in Economics from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, and worked in three educational and gender/sexuality rights NGOs in north India. Through his work, he seeks to learn from and contribute to transgender support networks, movements, and politics in India. As a teacher, scholar, activist, and writer, his goal is to work towards expanding educational rights, policies, and practices in India to make them relevant for trans individuals and to write about how trans people in India survive and thrive.

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