The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Derek Siegel

PhD Candidate (they/them)
I am a sociologist and feminist scholar whose work addresses 1) race, class, and gender inequalities with a focus on 2) reproduction, parenting, and family, and 3) transgender people's experiences in other institutional contexts (i.e., healthcare and the law). Since completing my Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies (2019), I have taught three distinct courses in the WGSS department as a lead instructor and two courses as a member of an interdisciplinary teaching team.

My dissertation examines how race, class, and gender shape trans women’s parenting journeys in a moment when anti-trans discourse and legislation are at an all-time high. I conducted 54 semi-structured interviews with current and prospective parents across North America, including 27 white trans women and 27 trans women of color. Using the concepts of racialized transmisogyny and reproductive governance, I argue that anti-trans stereotypes reinforce the power of regulatory institutions, policing the legal and symbolic boundaries of motherhood and constructing motherhood as a white, cisgender category. These boundaries shape both the distribution of parenting rights and how trans women are mis/recognized as mothers in everyday interactions (i.e., street harassment). I also examine transformations in family structure (i.e., how trans women navigate motherhood in both their nuclear families and families of choice). This project is funded by the American Sociological Association, the UMass Graduate School, and the UMass Center for Research on Families. 



M.A., Sociology, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, 2019

B.A., Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, American University, 2014

Research Areas

Race, Gender, and Class; Family; Queer and Trans Studies; Social Movements; Feminist Theory; Qualitative Methods; Medical Sociology; Abortion and Reproduction

Selected Publications

Siegel, Derek P. (2024). "Policing Motherhood, Controlling Families: Race, Reproductive Governance, and Trans Women's Parenting Rights." Gender & Society 38(1). Forthcoming. 

Siegel, Derek P. (2023). "How Many Trans People Get Abortions? An Introduction to Critical Data Studies." Reproductive Politics in the Classroom, a special issue of Feminist Pedagogy 3(2). Online.

Siegel, Derek P. (2023). "Trans joy and family bonds are big parts of the transgender experience lost in medica coverage and anti-trans legislation." The Conversation. Online.

Siegel, Derek P. (2021). "Wanting a 'Feminist Abortion Experience': Emotion Work, Collective Identity, and Pro-Choice Discourse.Sociological Forum 36(2). Online Access.

Siegel, Derek P. (2021). Trans moms discuss their unique parenting challenges during the pandemic- and what they worry about when things go back to ‘normal’.” The Conversation. Online.

Siegel, Derek P. (2020). "Medicalization and Naturalization: Understanding Abortion as a Naturecultural Phenomeon." Catalyst: Feminism, Theory & Technoscience 6(2):1-25.

Siegel, Derek P. (2019). "Transgender Experiences of Transphobia in Higher Education." Sociology Compass 13(10).