We employ a critical appraisal of the limitations of existing concepts and tools we have to engage ethically with trans subjectivities and co-researchers with trans, non-binary and queer identities and for challenging cisgenderism and transphobia. The issues we discuss draw from fieldwork within UK and Australian contexts which involved a range of methods approached with critical community psychology and sociologies of gender perspectives. The key issues we negotiated concern: formulating progressive, consent-giving practices that avoid problematic inscriptions of dominant identity categories; facilitating safer research spaces; rethinking crude characterisations of trans subjects as vulnerable/risky; and promoting enhanced engagement with research accounts produced. This piece does not offer an exhaustive ethical review or proposed guidelines, but instead reflects upon how challenges emerged in our practice and were negotiated. These discussions contribute to an ongoing dialogue about how we create ethical contexts for engagement in our research.