Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category

Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category

by David Valentine
     
 

ISBN-10: 0822338696

ISBN-13: 9780822338697

Pub. Date: 08/30/2007

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

Imagining Transgender is an ethnography of the emergence and institutionalization of transgender as a category of collective identity and political activism. Embraced by activists in the early 1990s to advocate for gender-variant people, the category quickly gained momentum in public health, social service, scholarly, and legislative contexts. Working as a safer-sex…  See more details below

Overview

Imagining Transgender is an ethnography of the emergence and institutionalization of transgender as a category of collective identity and political activism. Embraced by activists in the early 1990s to advocate for gender-variant people, the category quickly gained momentum in public health, social service, scholarly, and legislative contexts. Working as a safer-sex activist in Manhattan during the late 1990s, David Valentine conducted ethnographic research among mostly male-to-female transgender-identified people at drag balls, support groups, cross-dresser organizations, clinics, bars, and clubs. However, he found that many of those labeled "transgender" by activists did not know the term or resisted its use. Instead, they self-identified as "gay," a category of sexual rather than gendered identity and one rejected in turn by the activists who claimed these subjects as transgender. Valentine analyzes the reasons for and potential consequences of this difference, and how social theory is implicated in it. He argues that "transgender" has been adopted so rapidly in the contemporary United States because it clarifies a model of gender and sexuality that has been gaining traction within feminism, psychiatry, and mainstream gay and lesbian politics since the 1970s: a paradigm in which gender and sexuality are distinct arenas of human experience. This distinction and the identity categories based on it erase the experiences of some gender-variant people-particularly poor persons of color-who conceive of gender and sexuality in other terms.

About the Author:
David Valentine is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822338697
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
08/30/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
312,219
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Imagining Transgender
Introduction     3
Imagining Transgender     29
Making Community, Conceiving Identity
Introduction to Part II: Reframing Community and Identity     68
Making Community     71
"I Know What I Am": Gender, Sexuality, and Identity     105
Emerging Fields
Introduction to Part III: The Transexual, the Anthropologist, and the Rabbi     140
The Making of a Field: Anthropology and Transgender Studies     143
The Logic of Inclusion: Transgender Activism     173
The Calculus of Pain: Violence, Narrative, and the Self     204
Conclusion: Making Ethnography     231
Notes     257
Works Cited     277
Index     299

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