Transgender rights have emerged as an important topic of everyday conversation across the country in recent years and become, in many ways, the flashpoint du jour of the American culture wars. During the Trump presidency in particular, transgender people were thrust onto the center stage of U.S. politics. In Voices for Transgender Equality, Thomas J Billard offers an insider’s view into transgender activism during the first two years of the Trump administration. Drawing on extensive on-the-ground observation at the National Center for Transgender Equality, Billard shows how these activists developed an unlikely blend of online and offline strategies to saturate a diverse ecology of national news outlets, local and community media outlets across the country, and both public and private conversations across multiple social media platforms with voices in support of their cause. Moreover, these activists navigated the complex flows of information and ideas among these different domains of the communication system as they worked to shape the national conversation on transgender rights.
About the Presenter
TJ Billard is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication and, by courtesy, the Department of Sociology at Northwestern University. They are the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Applied Transgender Studies and Editor-in-Chief of the Center’s flagship journal, the Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies. Dr Billard is the author of Voices for Transgender Equality: Making Change in the Networked Public Sphere (Oxford University Press, 2024) and editor (with Silvio Waisbord) of Public Scholarship in Communication Studies (University of Illinois Press, 2024).
Presented by the Institute of Communications Research.