This project involves a psychosocial investigation of the role of time and waiting within the conceptualisation, politicisation, and care of young people exploring gender identity. In particular, it asks which models of temporality underpin views of how gender identity unfolds in the life of the mind, and how healthcare professionals can and do intervene? How is ‘waiting’ used and understood, made present or effaced by young people and their carers involved in transition, and by staff who offer them a service? What theoretical resources can we draw upon to offer a richer account of the relation between gender, time, and psychic life?
The project collaborates with the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), who are partnered with the Waiting Times project. GIDS is the UK’s sole NHS provider of specialised gender care for young people, located within the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. The service has found itself at the heart of a significant public debate around transgender politics and the availability of medical interventions for young gender nonconforming people. As such, it functions as a site through which issues around waiting, gender, and care are actively negotiated, both within its clinic and via public and political discourse.
Through a combination of semi-structured qualitative interviews with former and current GIDS clinicians and related stakeholders, and psychosocial ethnographic observation of life as a GIDS clinician, I aim to generate a rich understanding of how experiences of waiting and time are managed, discussed, and thought about by staff at GIDS. This research is intended both to assist GIDS staff in developing a theoretically sophisticated way to address the problem of waiting within their work, and for the wider public to better understand how waiting and time intersects with gender-related care.
Project lead: Jordan Osserman