2019 Annual Graduate Student Symposium

Title

"Beyond Born This Way": Reconsidering Trans Narratives

Award Winner

Recipient of the 12th Annual Graduate Student Symposium Scholarship Award, Oral Presentations, Presidential Room - First Place (2019)

To go to the Graduate Student Symposium event page, Click here

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

Transgender people--Attitudes;

Abstract

When most Americans hear the words “trans” or “transgender”, celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner, Chaz Bono, or Laverne Cox likely come to mind along with their highly public stories of medical and social transition. While these celebrity representations have served to increase visibility for the trans community throughout the United States over the past decade, trans representation remains limited in terms of intersectionality and a narrow focus on celebrity stories and themes of essentialization, dysphoria, and medical transition. At the same time, research on trans narratives also remains focused almost exclusively on trans women and men who experience dysphoria and undergo medical transition. This leaves the following questions: What are the consequences of such a narrow focus on only one kind of trans story within the media? How did the representations we know today develop in the first place? What are the experiences of trans people who do not fit into the dominant narrative like? What can we learn from these experiences, representations, and histories in terms of theory and activism? To answer these questions, I will present a qualitative textual analysis of interviews with eight trans people from various backgrounds on their gendered experiences and compare them to trans celebrity narratives, historical narratives, and alternative narratives trans people have formed for themselves. While the stories collected and analyzed in this study are not generalizable to all trans people, as case studies they will enhance our knowledge of trans narratives, experiences, and identities.

Start Date

3-4-2019 12:00 PM

End Date

3-4-2019 2:00 AM

Year of Award

2019 Award

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Carolyn Hildebrandt

Department

Women's and Gender Studies Program

File Format

application/pdf

Embargo Date

4-17-2019

Electronic copy is not available through UNI ScholarWorks.

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Apr 3rd, 12:00 PM Apr 3rd, 2:00 AM

"Beyond Born This Way": Reconsidering Trans Narratives

When most Americans hear the words “trans” or “transgender”, celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner, Chaz Bono, or Laverne Cox likely come to mind along with their highly public stories of medical and social transition. While these celebrity representations have served to increase visibility for the trans community throughout the United States over the past decade, trans representation remains limited in terms of intersectionality and a narrow focus on celebrity stories and themes of essentialization, dysphoria, and medical transition. At the same time, research on trans narratives also remains focused almost exclusively on trans women and men who experience dysphoria and undergo medical transition. This leaves the following questions: What are the consequences of such a narrow focus on only one kind of trans story within the media? How did the representations we know today develop in the first place? What are the experiences of trans people who do not fit into the dominant narrative like? What can we learn from these experiences, representations, and histories in terms of theory and activism? To answer these questions, I will present a qualitative textual analysis of interviews with eight trans people from various backgrounds on their gendered experiences and compare them to trans celebrity narratives, historical narratives, and alternative narratives trans people have formed for themselves. While the stories collected and analyzed in this study are not generalizable to all trans people, as case studies they will enhance our knowledge of trans narratives, experiences, and identities.