Edited volume: “Trans Identities in the French media” Call for abstracts

Romain Chareyron's picture
Call for Publications
September 30, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, French History / Studies, Humanities

“Transsexualité, transidentité: un tabou français?” (“Transsexuality, transidentity: a French taboo?[1]): such was the title chosen by the online French news magazine France Info for an article published in 2015[2] that discussed the lack of visibility trans(gender/sexual) people still experience in French society. Indeed, there has been an increasing visibility of trans individuals in film and TV in recent years. TV documentaries such as Devenir il ou elle (Lorène Debaisieux, 2017) and Être fille ou garçon: Le Dilemme des transgenres (Clarisse Verrier, 2017) follow the lives of adolescents as they transition into their authentic gender; director Sébastien Lifshitz dedicated a documentary to one of France’s first individuals to have undergone gender confirmation surgery with Bambi (2013); and while short-lived, the TV series Louis(e) (2017) featured a transwoman as its main protagonist. However, the fact remains that the number of transphobic acts in France has continued to increase over the past years.[3] Moreover, the prevalence of the French nation state weighs heavily on the recognition of trans identities in order to produce a narrative that avoids any kind of communautarisme, so that trans identities are integrated within the republican values of the country to appear less “frightening” to the general public. As noted by Todd W. Reeser, this has a direct impact on the way trans identities are portrayed in the media: “in journalistic prose, trans narratives, documentaries, and TV programs, transgender subjects are frequently defined through nation-based discourses, institutions, and state-sanctioned forms of power […]” (Reeser, 4).[4]    


Using these observations as a starting point, this volume wishes to focus on how trans identities have been portrayed in recent years (from the 1990’s to the present time) in the French media. Abstracts are welcome regarding the representation of trans identities in cinema (fiction films, documentaries), television (news coverage, TV series, TV films and documentaries), as well as in newspapers and magazines. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

-the evolution of the representation of trans identities in news coverage.

-transsexual/transgender characters in films and series.

-pitfalls and biases regarding the way trans identities are portrayed in the French media.

-the analysis of a specific body of work.

As this volume intends to offer a broad perspective on the topic of trans identities and the media, submissions are encouraged from academics in various disciplines (French and Francophone studies; film and media studies; gender studies; sociology; history).


Abstracts with a clear theoretical and analytical framework (500 to 700 words) should be submitted in English, along with a short bio, by September 30th, 2019.

A publisher has already expressed interest in the topic. More information will be communicated once abstracts have been selected.

[3] The number of homophobic and trans-phobic acts officially counted in France in 2016 had risen by almost 20% (source: https://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/societe/les-actes-homophobes-et-transphobes-ont-augmente-de-presque-20-en-2016_1906740.html)

[4] Reeser, Todd W. “TransFrance”, L’Esprit créateur 53 (1), Spring 2013, pp.4-14.


Contact Info: 

Dr. Romain Chareyron (Assistant Professor of French, University of Saskatchewan)

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