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Kristie Seelman:

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The enforcement of the gender binary is a root cause of gender-based violence for trans people. Disrupting gender-based violence requires we ensure “gender” is not presumed synonymous with white cisgender womanhood. Transfeminists suggest that attaining gender equity requires confronting all forms of oppression that police people and their bodies, including white supremacy, colonialism, and capitalism (Silva & Ornat, 2016; Simpkins, 2016). Part of this project, we argue, includes confronting the structures of gender-based violence embedded within digital technologies that are increasingly part of our everyday lives. Informed by transfeminist theory (Koyama, 2003; Simpkins, 2016; Stryker & Bettcher, 2016; Weerawardhana, 2018), we interrogate the ways in which digital technologies naturalize and reinforce gender-based violence against bodies marked as divergent. We examine the subtler ways that digital technology can fortify binary gender as a mechanism of power and control. We highlight how gendered forms of data violence cannot be disentangled from digital technologies that surveil, police, or punish on the basis of race, nationhood, and citizenship, particularly in relation to predictive policing practices. We conclude with recommendations to guide technological development to reduce the violence enacted upon trans people and those whose gender presentations transgress society’s normative criteria for what constitutes a compliant (read: appropriately gendered) citizen.


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in the Journal of Gender-Based Violence. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Shelton, Jama, Kel Kroehle, Emilie K. Clark, Kristie Seelman, and S. J. Dodd. “Digital Technologies and the Violent Surveillance of Nonbinary Gender.” Journal of Gender-Based Violence, February 2021 is available online at:

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