Embodying Transgender: Narratives of Trans Women in Online Forums

In this paper, I will discuss the way that trans women embody their transgender identity, focusing on identity questioning, gender dysphoria, clinical gatekeeping, and medicalized narratives. Situated within the hermeneutics methodological approach, I adopted the unobtrusive research as a research method, where data was derived from online forums where trans women posted content about their perspectives and experiences of gender and gender transitioning. The thematic analysis method was used for data analysis. Findings suggest that gender identity is embodied and socially negotiated. many trans women were initially ambivalent about their transgender identity and some continued to question their desired identity throughout adulthood. when presenting to healthcare professionals many trans women reported being expected to adopt a ‘wrong body’ narrative to gain access to treatment and surgery for gender transitioning and affirmation. Trans women face many challenges in being transgender person. In embodying their transgender, many interact with others in society as well as health care providers. It is crucial that we understand the ways trans women express their gender identity. Trans women have heterogeneous experiences which often do not match those of expected discourses (and diagnoses) which have implications for access to treatments to achieve their desired gender identity. I argue that transgender individuals have the right to carry out self-determination practices as a way to achieve their gender autonomy. Health care providers must understand the way trans women embody their identity as one of the myriad diverse human expressions of one’s own gender.

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