Carla A. Pfeffer
Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Pfeffer is a sociologist whose research and teaching is at the intersection of contemporary families, genders, sexualities, and bodies considered marginal, unusual, or socially problematic. Dr. Pfeffer has studied the experiences and perspectives of cisgender (non-transgender) women partners of transgender men. In another area of research, Dr. Pfeffer examines the experiences of those described by medical professionals as obese. In a new collaborative and international project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Pfeffer and colleagues will study transgender men’s practices and experiences around reproduction and reproductive healthcare. Across all of her research, Dr. Pfeffer focuses on the social processes and beliefs that define individuals and communities as marginal, unusual, or problematic, as well as how members of these stigmatized groups manage and adapt to living under such social strain.
Challenges the notion that LGBT group membership is solely biological and that LGBT people would never choose to be LGBT. Suggests that human rights should not be predicated on biological vs. choice-based determinations of group membership.
Discusses the importance of expanding scholarship on the sexualities and sexual behavior of those who are transgender-identified and their partners in order to counter common misperceptions and confusion between sex, gender, sexuality, and sexual behavior.
Identifies the social processes by which the partners of transgender people access regulated social recognition, services, and institutions on behalf of themselves, their partners, and their families.
Discusses the types of household and emotional labor performed by the partners of transgender people, expanding scholarship on LGBT families and family life.
Considers how a transgender partner’s body image and gender-related body dysphoria may affect a romantic partner’s body image and impact intimacy between partners.
Considers whether or not proving that homosexuality is genetic may influence support for lesbian and gay people. Challenges the notion that “born this way” formulations of sexual identity always result in more accepting attitudes toward lesbians and gay men.