Challenging Traditional Binaries

Queer Representation in the Medical Field

Technical and professional communication must evolve with society in order to meet the needs of the general public and the individual. This need is made evident by the mal-treatment and negligence notable in the medical field such as medical discrimination and the destruction of medical records.. Having been ignroed by medical establishments in the past, many transgender individuals undeergo a series of at-home remedial solutions to foster their own medical. The article, “Queering Tactical Technical Communication: DIY HRT,” by Avery C. Edenfield, Steve Holmes, and Jared S. Colton. It examines the communication surrounding hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) for those in transition and how the lack of social progression within medical establishments is detrimental to the transgender community.

This article challenges the medical field’s long-standing hetero-normative practices that oppress the queer community socially and medically. To combat this oppression, Sherborne Health Clinic revolutionized a new form of tactical technical communication to limit the marginalization of individuals in the transgender community, with a special focus on those actively transitioning. The new material approach works to queer tactical technical communication, rethinking the medical systems beyond just the documentation of indentification outside of the traditional binaries and dives into the communication to the general public about why those issues are worthwhile causes to educate about. By utilizing a new method of tactical communication, technical communicators aim to foster voluntary compliance of medical professionals to work towards an internal shift for more inclusive practices. 

Tactical communication goes beyond document design to dismantle a societal construct that limits positive interactions between the queer community and the medical community, which leads many to the conclusion that societal institutions were built to discriminate against the queer community, despite the progressive advances made by the LGBTQIA+ community.  Edenfield, Holmes, and Colton claim that the queer individual is not just the product of a changed mind, they are a product of science and medical expertise thought hormonal replacement therapy. As a result, due to a lack in communication there’s a disconnect between the intrinsic needs of transgender individuals, and the community they exist within. 

This article highlights the still-present issues that plague the transgender community as a whole as well as a few of the struggles they face when advocating for their own equality. Furthermore, Edenfield, Holmes, and Colton use a comparison between Shelley’s Frankenstein and the plight of a contemporary queer person demonstrated an image to the reader that is unsettling and disturbing.

The extension of technical and professional communication and education is one step towards better inclusion of some of the most marginalized and discriminated against social groups. Fosterning a better understanding of the queer community and how they fit into the world, contributes to a bigger picture that catalyzes the movement to queer technical communication in the medical field. The need for better queer representation in the medical field, and refining the indentifying institution thereof is important to creating a more cohesive world. I am in agreement with this argument, and I support any movement that the TPC field can make towards leveling out these practices of inequality. Technical communicators are charged with the task of refining and rewriting the communication used to bridge the gap between the transgender and the medical communities. If the medical field were to adopt more inclusive practices, it would provide better and safer health outcomes for the transgdender community. 


Queering Tactical Technical Communication: DIY HRT, by Avery C. Edenfield, Steve Holmes, and Jared S. Colton

Viewpoint Written by Sherralyn Robbins, University of Maine

Edited by Erica Lies, Texas State University

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