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(Trans)forming gender: Social change and transgender citizenship

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sally Hines


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This paper aims to contribute to recent sociological debates about gendered identity constructions and formations, and gendered citizenship, by exploring gender transformation through an analysis of new femininities and masculinities as they are variously articulated by transgender women and men. The paper charts the ways in which transgender has emerged as a subject of increasing social and cultural interest in recent years. Shifting attitudes towards transgender people are also evident through recent legislative changes brought by the Gender Recognition Act ( 2005). These social, cultural and legislative developments reflect the ways in which gender diversity is acquiring visibility in contemporary society, and suggest that gender diverse people themselves are experiencing greater levels of social inclusion. Such developments mark transgender as an important and timely area of sociological study. The paper argues that while the Gender Recognition Act marks a significant shift in socio- legal understandings of 'gender' as distinct from ' sex', it problematically remains tied to a medical perspective of transgender that continues to marginalise practices of gender diversity. The paper thus proposes caution against an assured trajectory of ( trans) gender transformation and social change. Rather, normative binary understandings of ' gender' underpin recent social and legislative shifts, giving way to individual and collective tensions around the desirability of assimilation. In turn these issues produce divergent ways of living as ' new' women and men.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hines S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sociological Research Online

Year: 2007

Volume: 12

Issue: 1

Pages: -

ISSN (electronic): 1360-7804

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.5153/sro.1469


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