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social sciences

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Transgender  
 
page: 1  2  

One consequence of the deployment of this term is that it tends to construct sexual identity categories (like homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual) as gender-normative, and to segregate gender non-conformity solely within the newly created minority classification of "transgender." This conceptual move allows "transgender" to be treated like a discrete identity category--setting in motion all the struggles over inclusion and exclusion--rather than perceived, like race or class, as a phenomenon that cuts across existing sexual identity categories.

In spite of (or perhaps because of) these controversies and complexities, a great deal of political, cultural, and intellectual work has been carried out under the transgender rubric since the early 1990s. The activist community mobilized through the term transgender has won human and civil rights protection for various forms of gender atypicality at various governmental levels. In the United States, this advance has tended to be at the municipal and, more rarely, the state level. Elsewhere, particularly within the European Union, the protections have been at the national, or even international level.

Sponsor Message.

There has been a heightened level of interest in transgender issues in mass media (such as Kimberly Peirce's Academy Award-winning film representation of the Brandon Teena murder, Boys Don't Cry [2000]), and a concomitant rise in transgender visibility. Many gay and lesbian organizations have begun to engage with transgender issues in a substantive manner and have attempted to create a broader glbtq community. Transgender studies has also begun to emerge as a recognized academic specialization, with its own professional literature, peer-reviewed publications, and conferences.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the recent and rapid development of transgender is the role the term has played in giving voice to a wide range of people whose experiences and understandings of gender, embodiment, and sexuality previously had not entered into broader discussions and decision-making processes. The emergence of these new speaking positions has already enriched an ongoing cultural conversation about gender and diversity.

Susan Stryker

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   Related Entries
  
social sciences >> Overview:  Africa: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Independence

With reports from hundreds of sub-Saharan African locales of male-male sexual relations and from about fifty of female-female sexual relations, it is clear that same-sex sexual relations existed in traditional African societies, though varying in forms and in the degree of public acceptance

literature >> Overview:  Autobiography, Transsexual

Transgendered individuals have published autobiographies not only to tell or to clarify the stories of their lives, but also to educate others in an effort to gain greater acceptance for transgender people.

social sciences >> Overview:  Brazil

A notably diverse country, Brazil is also home to one of the world's most dynamic glbtq political movements.

social sciences >> Overview:  Identity Politics

Not limited to activity in the traditionally conceived political sphere, identity politics refers to activism, politics, theorizing, and other similar activities based on the shared experiences of members of a specific social group, often relying on shared experiences of oppression.

social sciences >> Overview:  India

Indian thought towards same-sex eroticism and gender variance was more tolerant in the past than it is today.

social sciences >> Overview:  Indigenous Cultures

"Indigenous" is a concept important in the history of anthropology, particularly as it regards anthropology's treatment of same-sex sexual relations.

social sciences >> Overview:  Intersexuality

Intersexuality (formerly referred to as hermaphroditism) is a congenital anomaly in which an individual's external genitalia or internal reproductive systems fall outside the norms for either male or female bodies.

social sciences >> Overview:  Native Americans

A social role for individuals who crossed or mixed male and female characteristics was one of the most widely distributed institutions of native North America.

social sciences >> Overview:  Pacific Islands

Sexual and gender diversity is widespread throughout the three zones of the Pacific Islands.

social sciences >> Overview:  Passing

Generally defined as seeking or allowing oneself to be identified with a race, class, or other social group to which one does not genuinely belong, passing is a complex and layered issue in queer culture.

arts >> Overview:  Sports: Transgender Issues

Fears and misconceptions about transgendered and intersexed athletes abound.

social sciences >> Overview:  Transgender Activism

Since the late nineteenth century, transgendered people have advocated legal and social reforms that would ameliorate the kinds of oppression and discrimination they suffer.

arts >> Overview:  Transsexuality in Film

Representations of transsexuality in films range from freak-show exploitation, to dramatic and documentary depictions, to the use of transsexuality as a metaphor for exploring the crossing of all kinds of borders.

arts >> Ashley, April

Outed as a transsexual in 1961, the indomitable April Ashley rose from poverty to become a glamorous entertainer and top model who married into the British aristocracy and later became a transgender activist.

social sciences >> Berdache

Both male and female berdaches (or two-spirit persons), common among Native American tribal cultures, were characterized by gender variation sanctioned by supernatural dreams and visions.

social sciences >> Beyer, Georgina

As the first open transgender person in New Zealand to be elected to the offices of mayor and Member of Parliament, Georgina Beyer has evinced courage, humor, and personal honesty.

social sciences >> Bono, Chaz

The child of a famous show business couple, Chaz Bono has had to cope with family resistance and intense public scrutiny as he came out, first as a lesbian, then as a transgender man.

social sciences >> Bornstein, Kate

One of the best-known transgender activists, Kate Bornstein, in works that are accessible and frequently humorous, challenges audiences to buck the gender system.

social sciences >> Chase, Cheryl

Activist Cheryl Chase has led efforts to educate both medical professionals and parents of intersexed children so that unnecessary surgeries may be avoided and intersexed people may have happier and healthier lives.

social sciences >> Dillon, Michael

Michael Dillon, the first person known to have transitioned both hormonally and surgically from female to male, was a man of singular determination who articulated his life as an evolving struggle toward corporeal, intellectual, and spiritual integrity.

literature >> Feinberg, Leslie

Political organizer, grassroots historian, and accomplished writer, Leslie Feinberg is a pioneer of transgender activism and culture.

social sciences >> Genderqueer

Genderqueer is a term for people who feel that their gender identities or gender expression do not correspond to the gender assigned to them at birth, but who do not want to transition to the "opposite" gender.

social sciences >> Hijras

The Hijras--men who dress and act like women--have been a presence in India for generations, maintaining a third-gender role that has become institutionalized through tradition.

arts >> Mitchell, John Cameron

While he had already achieved recognition as an actor, the multiple talents of performer, writer, and filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell came to wide public notice in 2001 with the release of his prize-winning film, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

social sciences >> Prince, Virginia Charles

Virginia Charles Prince has been a pioneer in organizing social and support groups for heterosexually-identified male cross-dressers.

social sciences >> Queer Nation

The short-lived militant group Queer Nation, which emerged in 1990, made a lasting impact on sexual identity politics in the United States.

social sciences >> Teena, Brandon

Twenty-year-old Brandon Teena was brutally murdered on December 31, 1993 on account of gender non-conformity.

social sciences >> Transsexuals of Brazil

Transgender people--more specifically, people who were born male but present themselves as female--are Brazil's single most marginalized group.


    Bibliography
   

Bornstein, Kate. Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Feinberg, Leslie. Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time Has Come. New York; World View Forum, 1992.

_____. Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to RuPaul. Boston: Beacon Press, 1997.

_____. Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue. Boston: Beacon Press, 1999.

Stone, Sandy. "The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto." Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Gender Ambiguity. Julia Epstein and Kristina Straub, eds. New York: Routledge, 1991. 280-301.

Stryker, Susan. "Transgender Studies: Queer Theory's Evil Twin." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 10.2 (2004): 212-15.

_____, ed. The Transgender Issue. Special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 4.2 (1998).

Valentine, David. "'I know what I am': The Category 'Transgender' in the Construction of Contemporary U. S. American Conceptions of Gender and Sexuality." Ph. D. Dissertation, Anthropology Department, New York University, 2000.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Stryker, Susan  
    Entry Title: Transgender  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated June 24, 2005  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/transgender.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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