Dear Trans Studies, Can You Do Love?

Ian Khara Ellasante


This essay considers the origins, intentions, and potential of transgender studies. As the field becomes increasingly institutionalized, is transgender studies capable of honoring the embodied knowledges from which it originates and, if so, how? The author suggests orientations that foreground the relevance, reciprocity, and accessibility of transgender studies for the very people whose lives and experiences the field transmutes into scholarship. The author draws from Dora Silva Santana s papo-de-mano and escrevivencia and Kai M. Green and Treva Ellison s "tranifesting" approaches that demonstrate that, in fact, transgender studies can do redress, tenderness, and love in the service of both knowledge production and resistance.