Fatigue, disorientation, numbness, envy, rage, burnout. What good could come from thinking about trans experience and these bad feelings? In Side Affects: On Being Trans and Feeling Bad (University of Minnesota Press, 2022), Hil Malatino theorizes the centrality of bad feelings in a world of quotidian and spectacular anti-trans misrecognition, hostility, and violence. He does so not only to understand how bad feelings arise and how they can be hard to survive, but also what they can make possible when they are taken up through political practices of care. Centered on trans experience as it is represented through many cultural productions, Malatino highlights the pressure on trans folks to be made happy by transition. He takes the analysis further by arguing for the power of communal care to enable survival not despite, but through these feelings.
Sarah Tyson is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, Denver.
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