PhD candidate, Rice University
Affiliated researcher, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Editor, Platypus: The CASTAC Blog
- Digital Anthropology
- Latin America
- Media Anthropology
- Queer Studies
- Science & Technology Studies
- Social Movements
- Web Technologies
Baird Campbell is a PhD student in anthropology at Rice University. His research explores the intersections of social media, alternative archival practices, and trans activism in contemporary Chile.
Contributions to Platypus: The CASTAC Blog
In support and solidarity with LGBTQIA+/Queer people around the world, we’re celebrating Pride Month with a collection of some of our most popular queer content from the blog. We take this moment to recognize the valuable contributions LGBTQIA+/Queer people make to our fields, our society, and our lives. Check out six of our favorites below!
It has been said that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. We might think of the platypus in much the same way, though the key difference is perhaps that—as of yet—it is unclear what the Platypus Committee was trying to create. Regardless, the platypus has long been emblematic of the limitations of scientific classification. An egg-laying, duck-billed, poisonous mammal: the only surviving member of its species and genus. It is this persistent and natural spirit of disruption and provocation that led the founders of this blog to christen it with the name of this thoroughly confusing and fascinating creature. Its defiance of orderly categorization serves as both a metaphor and motivation for the continued intersection of anthropology and science and technology studies, sometimes considered strange bedfellows. (more…)
También disponible en español aquí. On June 18, 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the removal of “transsexuality” (a term based on psychiatric diagnosis and maligned by many trans activists as pathologizing) from the “mental disorders” section of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD). After decades of activism, this move was applauded by trans activists around the world. Nonetheless, activists insist that the WHO—rather than removing trans identities entirely—should included them instead in its list of “sexual health conditions.” The commercialization of healthcare in much of the world means that, while trans people have no desire to be classified as “sick” or “mentally ill,” an official medical diagnosis remains crucial for accessing affordable medical care during the process of physical transition (to cover things like hormone therapies, surgeries, mental health support costs, etc.). In countries such as the US, where even private insurance companies are famously reticent to cover any expense not deemed “medically necessary,” the complete removal of trans identities from health manuals such as the ICD would risk depriving these same people of access to the treatments they need. As such, many trans activists view this fraught relationship with medical science as, for the moment, a necessary evil in the fight for full depathologization of trans identities. In Chile, where trans activists have spent the last decade fighting for basic recognition under the law, the removal of trans identities from the ICD was welcome news to received in June, the world LGBTQIA pride month. The WHO’s decision (more...)