SXSSG Keynote Address

“National Security State and the Precarious Trans/Migrant Subject,” Dr. Debanuj Dasgupta 

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Sexuality and Space Specialty Group
Date: April 11, 2018
Time: 1:20 PM – 3:00 PM
Room: Sheraton, Napoleon C2, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Organizers: Julie Podmore
Chairs: John Paul Catungal


The question of transgender rights is presently a hotly contested issue in the United States. President Donald Trump has proposed to ban transgender persons from serving in the US military along with rescinding previous Presidential orders about transgender access to toilets in public institutions. Similarly, several states have initiated bills against transgender access to gender neutral bathrooms. Such debates are explicitly related to the materiality of space (toilets), borders and national security (the role of the army in maintaining sovereign territory of the US). However, what remains hidden from these debates is the torture faced by transgender refugees and asylum seekers within detention centers. In this paper, I will argue that torture upon the trans/migrant body is hidden from the view of the American public, and detention centers operate as the secret spaces of the national security state. The paper builds upon scholarship about the biopolitical governmentality of queer bodies & spaces (Brown & Knopp, 2010), and experiences of transgender people within carceral spaces (Rosenberg & Oswin, 2015) through a discussion of the experiences of transgender asylum seekers within detention centers. Secondly, I will analyze transgender migrant activism related to the abolition of the detention industrial complex and highlight how transgender immigrants are at the forefront of ushering social justice movements that take up questions of human rights of LGBT people and migrants.


Type Details Minutes
Introduction John Paul Catungal University of British Columbia 10
Panelist Debanuj DasGupta University of Connecticut 20
Discussant Lawrence Knopp University of Washington Tacoma 20
Discussant Gilly Hartal 20
Discussant Farhang Rouhani University of Mary Washington 20


This information can be found on the AAG website at: