Ruth Pearce is a researcher, campaigner, and punk musician. Her work explore issues of inequality, marginalisation, power and political struggle from a trans feminist perspective. She is currently co-editor of the Community Development Journal, Senior Fellow at Chicago’s Center for Applied Transgender Studies, and a lecturer at the University of Glasgow.
Ruth first became involved in activism and DIY music communities as a teenager in the early 2000s, organising events with local heavy metal bands to raise money for charitable causes. In 2008 she became the first trans representative for the National Union of Students’ Women’s Campaign, while also working as a feminist DJ and as a staff writer for Lesbilicious, the UK’s independent web magazine for lesbian and bi women. After years of promoting other people’s music, Ruth began playing herself in 2011, fronting the feminist punk band Not Right.
In 2016 Ruth was awarded a PhD in Sociology by the University of Warwick. Her thesis explored how trans healthcare is differently understood and contested within trans community spaces, activist groups and professional contexts, with important consequences for people’s access to care. Her first book, Understanding Trans Health (published 2018), built on the findings of this project. She has also co-edited the books The Emergence of Trans (2019, with Igi Moon, Kat Gupta, and Deborah Lynn Steinberg), and TERF Wars: Feminism and the fight for transgender futures (2020, with Ben Vincent and Sone Erikainen).
More recently, Ruth has undertaken groundbreaking research on trans men and non-binary people’s experiences of pregnancy and childbirth. She has provided expert advice and consultancy on this and other gendered healthcare issues to organisations including the World Health Organisation, the Scottish government, NHS England, The Young Women’s Movement, India HIV/AIDS alliance, Nuffield Council for Bioethics, and Stonewall. She has also collaborated with prominent Youtubers including Philosophy Tube and Katy Montgomerie.
Ruth currently plays bass guitar in the Leeds-based noise-pop group wormboys, and performs vocals in queer punk trio Dispute Settlement Mechanism.