In 1987 Espineira was involved in a serious road accident and expected to die, and ended up needing over 30 operations over several years.
From 1988 to 1992 Espineira did a degree at the University of Grenoble in letters and communication, and started a doctorate at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, but dropped out to deal with personal issues.
As Karine she went to Paris and became involved with the Association du Syndrome de Benjamin that had just been founded by Tom Reucher, Diane Potiron, Hugues Cariou and others. Another participant was Maud-Yeuse Thomas who became Karine's life partner. Karine started psychiatric interviews as part of the official French transition protocol, but as Tom Reucher as done earlier, she was repelled by the excessive pathologization, and by the surgical failures. She did keep seeing a psychiatrist on the official team, but negotiated hormones, and in 1998 has surgery with Dr Michel Seghers in Brussels. She was able to obtain a changed Chilean birth certificate.
Karine and Maud-Yeuse joined the anti-essentialist, anti-psychiatry, queer-theory group organized by University of Lille sociologist, Marie-Hélène Bourcier, and also LesboTrans.
In 2001 Karine and Maud-Yeuse moved to Marseille and became a social activist. In 2008 Karine published La transidentité: de l'espace médiatique à l'espace public. In 2012 Karine, Maud-Yeuse and Arnaud Alessandrin published La Transyclopedie: Tout Savoir Sur Les Transidentites, a history-cum-encyclopedia of transgender in France. In 2014 Karine obtained a PhD at the University of Nice – Sophia Antipolis in Information Science and Communication.
- Karine Espineira. La transidentité: de l'espace médiatique à l'espace public. Paris: l'Harmattan, 2008.
- Karine Espineira. “Transidentité: de la théorie à la politique: Une métamorphose culturelle entre pragmatisme et transcendance”. L’Information psychiatrique, 17 Sep 2011. http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/62/44/40/PDF/TransidentitA_de_la_thA_orie_a_la_politique.pdf.
- Karine Espineira. “Le bouclier thérapeutique : discours et limites d'un appareil de légitimation”. Revue internationale de recherche biographique, 2 (2011) 280. http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/63/27/48/PDF/Karine_Espineira_Le_Bouclier.pdf.
- Lynn Conway. “Karine’s Story”. TSsuccesses. http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TSsuccesses/Karine.html.
- Karine Espineira, Maud-Yeuse Thomas & Arnaud Alessandrin. LA TRANSYCLOPEDIE : Tout Savoir Sur Les Transidentites. Lulu, 2012.
- "Karine Espineira est la première Trans à obtenir le grade de Docteure de l’université française". Existrans, 18 Octobre 2014. www.txy.fr/blog/2013/01/09/karine-espineira-est-la-premiere-trans-a-obtenir-le-grade-de-docteure-de-luniversite-francaise.
Présentation de la transyclopédie : extrait by QueerDays