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Suppressive tropes: (mis)recognition of transsexuals’ agency

By Zowie Davy


I examine the some of the implications of the usage of the trope of the ‘wrong body’. I want to suggest that this trope, utilised by both the transsexual and medical establishment, is rarely employed with indeterminacy in mind, that is, in an attempt to cause metaphoric blurring. The ‘wrong body’ trope is utilised to augment a sense of ideology. I argue that these tropings are often used in an effort to salvage a narrative of an original gendered self, which nature has somehow got wrong. I suggest that this usage is counter productive, in three types of narratives utilised by transsexuals, the medical narrative, the Cartesian narrative and the intersex narrative as it undermines their narrative logics. Moreover, the usage contests others in the community and beyond. Utilising life history interviews with twenty-three transpeople from the UK who identified as both male-to-female and female-to-male, I go on to argue that this trope suppresses agency insofar as it restrains transsexuals from disclosing aspects of their particular choices within their specific contexts and habitus. I propose that we must allow for a substantive model of transpeople’s agency, which is situational, and which can account for the diverse potentialities of transgender embodiment

Topics: Q110 Applied Linguistics, L431 Health Policy, L320 Gender studies
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lincoln.ac.uk:4289

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