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TransForming gender

TransForming gender: Transgender practices of identity, intimacy and care

Sally Hines
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  • Book Info
    TransForming gender
    Book Description:

    This book is a major contribution to contemporary gender and sexuality studies. At a time when transgender practices are the subject of increasing social and cultural visibility, it marks the first UK study of transgender identity formation. It is also the first examination - anywhere in the world - of transgender practices of intimacy and care. The author addresses changing government legislation concerning the citizenship rights of transgender people. She examines the impact of legislative shifts upon transgender people's identities, intimate relationships and practices of care and considers the implications for future social policy. The book encompasses key approaches from the fields of psychoanalysis, anthropology, lesbian and gay studies, sociology and gender theory. Drawing on extensive interviews with transgender people, TransForming gender offers engaging, moving, and, at times, humorous accounts of the experiences of gender transition. Written in an accessible style, it provides a vivid insight into the diversity of living gender in today's world. The book will be essential reading for students and professionals in cultural studies, gender studies and sexuality studies as well as those in sociology, social policy, law, politics and philosophy. It will also be of interest to health and educational students, trainers and practitioners. Sally Hines is a lecturer in sociology and social policy at the University of Leeds. Her teaching and research interests fall within the areas of identity, gender, sexuality, the body and citizenship.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-255-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    This book explores a range of gender identities and experiences that fall under the broad umbrella of ‘transgender’. The term transgender relates to a diversity of practices that call into question traditional ways of seeing gender and its relationship with sex and sexuality. Used broadly, the concept of transgender is extensive — incorporating practices and identities such as transvestism, transsexuality, intersex, gender queer, female and male drag, cross-dressing and some butch/femme practices. Transgender may refer to individuals who have undergone hormone treatment or surgery to reconstruct their bodies, or to those who cross gender in ways that are less permanent. Transgender...

  2. ONE Theorising transgender
    (pp. 9-34)

    The aim of the first chapter of this book is to explore how transgender has been approached within different theoretical fields in order to foreground my discussions of gender diversity in subsequent chapters. I begin by engaging with medical models of transvestism and transsexuality. While transgender practices themselves stretch infinitely back in time, the study of transgender is relatively recent, emerging from medical studies around 100 years ago. Medical perspectives on transgender have, however, come to occupy a dominant position that has significantly affected how transgender is viewed and experienced within contemporary Western society. As Ekins and King argue: “[…]...

  3. TWO Analysing care, intimacy and citizenship
    (pp. 35-48)

    This chapter relates gender diversity to existing work on the practices and meanings of care, intimacy and citizenship. What follows is a selective discussion of this body of literature; it is impossible here to address this extensive field in its entirety. For example, the chapter does not include feminist work during the 1970s that focused upon the role of women within the family, theorising the capitalist and/or patriarchal family as an agent of women’s oppression (Wilson, 1977; McIntosh, 1978). Although this work relates to the arena of care in its analysis of women’s role within the family, its broader premise...

  4. THREE Transgender identities and experiences
    (pp. 49-84)

    Transgender identities are cut through with multiple variables such as gender, sexuality, ‘race’ and ethnicity, class, age, transitional time span and geographical location. While the subsequent two chapters focus specifically on gender and sexuality in relation to the construction of transgender identities and subjectivities, this chapter explores how transgender identities are constructed and experienced in relation to a range of additional composites.

    There is a wealth of autobiographical work on transgender identity formation and recently work that can be considered under the banner of ‘transgender theory’ offers a postmodern mix of critical analysis, political critique and autobiography to explore the...

  5. FOUR Gender identities and feminism
    (pp. 85-102)

    As was explored in the previous chapter, participants in the research on which this book draws used a variety of terms to describe their gender identity. While some participants identified as ‘man’ or ‘woman’, most used the prefix of ‘trans’ before gender nouns, or employed the terms FtM or MtF to articulate the ways in which their gender identities were distinct. This chapter further develops previous discussions of gendered understanding by exploring participants’ discussions of the relationship between transgender and feminism in order to consider the ways in which transgender and feminism are theoretically correlated and connected through lived experiences....

  6. FIVE Sexual identities
    (pp. 103-126)

    As I sketched out in Chapter One, transgender practices have been the subject of much debate within feminism, lesbian and gay scholarship and queer theory. Moreover, trans sexualities have been subject to intense medical gaze. As Schrock and Reid comment: “Most people [however] do not have their sexual biographies evaluated by mental health professionals who determine whether they can inhabit the bodies they desire” (2006: 84—5). Moreover, these studies have largely neglected the subjective meanings and lived experiences of sexuality for transgender people. The dominance of a medical model of transgender has frequently positioned transgender people, and transsexuals in...

  7. SIX Partnering and parenting relationships
    (pp. 127-146)

    As Chapter Two discussed, there has been an expansion of research into shifting familial and partnering structures within sociology and social policy. Intimacy is seen as a site of social transformation within contemporary society (Giddens, 1992; Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 1995). Lesbian and gay partnering and parenting relationships are positioned at the forefront of changing affective structures (Weston, 1991; Giddens, 1992; Sandell, 1994; Stacey, 1996; Roseneil, 2000; Weeks et al, 2001; Roseneil and Budgeon, 2004). For Stacey, lesbian and gay families are the “pioneer outpost of the postmodern family condition, confronting most directly its features of improvisation, ambiguity, diversity, contradiction, self-reflection...

  8. SEVEN Kinship and friendship
    (pp. 147-160)

    From polemic that denotes a crisis in family life, bemoaning the loss of the ‘traditional’ family, to suggestions of increased agency in the creation of ‘families of choice’ (Weston, 1991), contemporary familial relationships provoke much public and sociological debate. While the impact of gender transition on relationships with parents, siblings and extended family differs with individual circumstance, to present instances of positive interaction and of disconnection the process of transition will always take place to some extent within the social framework of kinship. With this point in mind, the first section of this chapter explores gender transition within the context...

  9. EIGHT Transgender care networks, social movements and citizenship
    (pp. 161-182)

    This chapter begins by considering practices of care within transgender support and self-help groups. Here I am extending the meanings of care discussed in Chapter Two to look beyond care as something that is given or received within an intimate context of family or friendship networks in order to examine care practices in relation to self–help groups and social movements.

    Social movements have been explored in relation to contemporary processes of social change. Giddens (1991) has discussed social movements as a significant form of ‘life politics’, while Beck (1992) discusses the realm of ‘subpolitics’ whereby disenfranchised groups participate in...

  10. NINE Conclusions: (re)theorising transgender
    (pp. 183-190)

    Conceptually, this book has mapped out a queer sociological approach to transgender. A queer sociology of transgender sits on the intersections of deconstructive analyses and empirical sociological studies of identity formations and practices. The theoretical starting point of the book was a critique of medical perspectives on transgender. Over the last century, medical perspectives have occupied a dominant position that has significantly affected how transgender is viewed and experienced within contemporary Western society. Although contemporary medical approaches represent a more complex understanding of transgender practices than was previously offered, I have argued that there remain serious problems in the correlation...

  11. APPENDIX: Research notes
    (pp. 193-202)