Professional Bio

Dr. Brainer is an associate professor and director of Women’s & Gender Studies and LGBTQ+ Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She is the author of Queer Kinship and Family Change in Taiwan (2019, Rutgers), for which she received the Ruth Benedict Book Prize from the Association for Queer Anthropology. Her current research follows queer and trans individuals and couples as they navigate marriage-based immigration to the United States. A third, newer project explores the widely shared and deeply personal experience of losing a friend. Data collection for this project is ongoing and participants are welcome.

At UM-Dearborn, Dr. Brainer is faculty advisor to Pride and teaches courses on LGBTQ+ Religious Experience; Family Diversity and Power; Colonialism, Race, and Sexuality; and other topics.

Photo by the original Hotline office in 2012 and in my home office in 2024.

Get a copy of Queer Kinship and Family Change in Taiwan:

Follow this link to order from the publisher. If you cannot afford the cost of the book, please let me know and I will share the PDF with you. If you are in the UK, you can borrow this book for free from the Gender Community Lending Library.

The beautiful cover art was created for this book by artist Dafne Kadai Chan.

Personal Bio

As is true for many researchers, my work and life experiences are intertwined. As a child, I lived in mainland China with my US citizen parents and developed an interest in family migration during this period. I am queer and femme, and navigated the US immigration process with a T (transmasculine) former partner. Like the participants in my current study, I have lost friends and members of my chosen family and recognize some of these losses as turning points in my life. I’m glad to answer questions about my story and how it pertains to my research. I try to practice transparency and vulnerability in my research and teaching.

Endorsement by my niece