WP172 A sociolinguistics from the South? Discursive colonization, epistemological imbalances and rehearsed narratives at a Brazilian gender identity clinic
Transsexuality is classified as a disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This manual shapes trans-specific healthcare policies worldwide. In this context, this paper discusses the discursive and intersubjective effects that the imposition of a psychiatric diagnosis has on the daily life of Brazilian gender identity clinics. It aims (1) to critically assess the epistemological and political dynamics which make the global circulation of this diagnostic manual possible and (2) to understand the socialization trajectory that leads to the materialisation of text-based, diagnostically driven, rehearsed narratives in consultations in a gender clinic in the global South. I argue that the globalization of certain medical epistemologies and their corresponding textualities homogenises transsexuality, and impels transsexual users of gender clinics and their doctors to engage in textually constrained interactional performances which make the construction of a trusting healthcare relationship virtually impossible. In this way, the paper discusses how a sociolinguistics from the South can contribute to fostering (trans)autonomy in healthcare settings, where epistemological imbalances are produced by ex-centric, globalized textualities that constrain possibilities for agency.