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Off that spectrum entirely: A study of female -bodied transgender -identified individuals

Linda Ann McCarthy, University of Massachusetts Amherst


In recent years, the category “transgender” has evolved to name and describe the identities and experiences of those who transgress traditional categories of sex and gender. Unlike “man” and “woman,” where the boundaries of identity are generally understood to have clear and distinct (although contested) definition, the borders of transgender identity necessarily remain nebulous. This qualitative study focuses on female-bodied individuals who identify as transgender but do not physically change their bodies through surgery or hormonal treatments. There is a conspicuous deficiency of information about female-to-male transsexuals, and especially about female bodied non-transsexuals—those who identify as transgender, but not transsexual. Therefore, it is important to examine not only who chooses to claim this identity and their process of doing so, but how they construct and make meaning of gender in their daily lives. Transgender identity offers an intriguing arena in which to explore the connection between experiences of self, gender, and the body. The specific questions this study addresses include: Why and how do female-bodied people claim a transgender identity? How do they understand their transgender identity? How do they manage and make this identity known? The participants explain how they understand their transgender identity and address the themes of gender identity, gender presentation, and the body.

Subject Area

Academic guidance counseling|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

McCarthy, Linda Ann, "Off that spectrum entirely: A study of female -bodied transgender -identified individuals" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3096300.