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Evil Deceivers and Make‐Believers: On Transphobic Violence and the Politics of Illusion

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Evil Deceivers and Make‐Believers: On Transphobic Violence and the Politics of Illusion

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Abstract

This essay examines the stereotype that transgender people are “deceivers” and the stereotype's role in promoting and excusing transphobic violence. The stereotype derives from a contrast between gender presentation (appearance) and sexed body (concealed reality). Because gender presentation represents genital status, Bettcher argues, people who “misalign” the two are viewed as deceivers. The author shows how this system of gender presentation as genital representation is part of larger sexist and racist systems of violence and oppression.

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... This can lead audiences to ignore the underlying social factors that give rise to such situations. Moreover, pervasive transphobic stereotypes can further deflect perceived responsibility away from perpetrators of anti-trans violence and encourage audiences to blame trans victims for harms done to them (Bettcher, 2007;Lee & Kwan, 2014). ...
... This language echoes the "trans panic" defense, an informal legal strategy positing that the shock of realizing that a sexual partner (or prospective partner) is transgender is sufficient to provoke the attacker into uncontrollable violence, thus reducing their culpability (Lee & Kwan, 2014). According to this argument, trans people intentionally deceive others about their "real" identities, and this deceptiveness accounts for violence perpetrated against them by others (Bettcher, 2007;Buist & Stone, 2014). ...
... Negative race-and gender-based stereotypes overlap and interact with narratives of trans people as threatening or deceptive, devaluing Black trans women and other trans women of color and undermining their legitimacy as victims. Media narratives often depict trans women as hypersexualized and untrustworthy (Bettcher, 2007;Nadal et al., 2016); these tropes, in turn, intersect with stereotypes of women of color as masculine and aggressive (Farr, 2000;Goff et al., 2008;Hill Collins, 2000), contributing to depictions of trans women of color that emphasize deviance and potential criminality. ...
Article
Media portrayals of crime help shape public perceptions of victims and the demographic groups to which they belong. For transgender people, who already face heightened disparities and stigma, news coverage may reinforce negative stereotypes and minimize the wider context of transphobic violence. The present study, a content analysis of news articles (n = 316) pertaining to 27 transgender people killed in the United States in 2016, addresses positive and negative depictions of victims, use of language affirming and delegitimizing transgender identities, and framing of transphobia as a systemic problem. Themes, implications, and future research directions are discussed.
... Though the situation is arguably improving in Canada (Adorjan et al., 2021), once incarcerated, trans people may face challenges, abuses, or discriminations because of their status as an -often visible-gender minority. These may include, but are not limited to, being denied housing on the basis of their gender identity (especially in conjunction with individual safety assessments), refusal by prisoners and staff to use their preferred names and pronouns, policing of their clothing, harassment, assault, suspicion, and invasive surveillance/searches of their bodies (Bettcher, 2013;Dillon, 2011;Goring & Sweet, 2011;Jenness et al., 2010;Stanley & Smith, 2011;Vitulli, 2014). Due to their higher rates of sexual victimization in prisons (Beck, 2014;Read & McCrae, 2016), trans individuals may be placed in solitary confinement (where solitary exists) against their will to protect them from harm (Sumner & Sexton, 2016). ...
... However, not all respondents demonstrated a willingness or comfort to provide support to trans prisoners, which was a more prevalent finding in earlier literature on the experiences of trans prisoners (Bettcher, 2013;Dillon, 2011;Goring & Sweet, 2011;Jenness et al., 2010;Stanley & Smith, 2011;Vitulli, 2014). A very small faction demonstrated a sense of distrust, fear, discomfort, and lack of knowledge about experiences of and accommodations for trans prisoners. ...
Article
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Empirical research on Canadian correctional workers’ successes, challenges, and attitudes towards accommodating gender diversity remains limited. Drawing on data garnered from two open-ended survey questions (n = 70) asking correctional workers in the community or institutions about their perspectives on working with trans populations, we explore how correctional workers in Nova Scotia, Canada accommodate or struggle to accommodate gender diversity in carceral settings. We found that respondents are generally mindful of issues pertaining to the safety and security of trans prisoners, usually espouse open-mindedness, and are generally able to work within correctional parameters to accommodate those with a diverse gender identity. Yet some respondents raised concerns and suspicion towards prisoners who present a safety risk to other prisoners and, in their view, may be manipulating human rights policies to cause harm to others. We take up these tensions critically and discuss the scholarly and practical implications of our findings, as well as possible avenues for future research.
... Here again, children are expected to come to understand themselves as biologically different through the disciplinary space of the washroom and how washrooms operate as 'mechanisms for the regulation of phenomena of population' (Foucault, 1980: 159). Such notions of biological differences or different bodies have been critiqued by trans scholars, who note the medicalization and disciplining of trans bodies through psychiatric and psychological medical knowledge (Bettcher, 2007;Namaste, 2000;Vipond, 2015). Early childhood educators' common reliance on this notion of biological differences between boys' and girls' bodily development can reinforce transphobic violence, as noted by Bettcher (2007), through the idea that one's outer gender presentation is associated with an inner truth in terms of assigned sex at birth. ...
... Such notions of biological differences or different bodies have been critiqued by trans scholars, who note the medicalization and disciplining of trans bodies through psychiatric and psychological medical knowledge (Bettcher, 2007;Namaste, 2000;Vipond, 2015). Early childhood educators' common reliance on this notion of biological differences between boys' and girls' bodily development can reinforce transphobic violence, as noted by Bettcher (2007), through the idea that one's outer gender presentation is associated with an inner truth in terms of assigned sex at birth. The participants' descriptions of different bodies and genitalia within the washroom space (associating boys standing at urinals and girls sitting on toilets to pee) can function to discipline young children's understandings of their gender identity by equating their sense of inner gender identity with specific body parts and binarized notions of bodily development (e.g. ...
Article
Full-text available
Open conversations regarding sexuality education and gender and sexual diversity with young children in early childhood education settings are still highly constrained. Educators report lacking professional training and fearing parental and community pushback when explicitly addressing these topics in their professional practices. As such, gender and sexual diversity and conversations of bodily development are left silenced and, when addressed, filtered through heteronormative and cisnormative frameworks. Through a Foucauldian post-structural lens, this article analyses data from open-ended qualitative questions in a previous research study regarding early childhood educators’ perceptions on discussing the development of sexuality in early learning settings in an Ontario, Canada context. Through this Foucauldian post-structural analysis, the authors discuss forms of surveillance and regulation that early childhood educators experience in early learning settings regarding the open discussion of gender and sexuality. The authors explore how both the lack of explicit curricula addressing gender and sexuality in the early years in Ontario and taken-for-granted notions of developmentally appropriate practice, childhood innocence, and the gender binary – employed in discourses of sexuality education in the early years – regulate early childhood educators’ professional practices. The authors provide recommendations which critique the developmentalist logics – specifically, normative development – that are used to silence non-heterosexual and non-cisgender identities in the early years, while articulating the need for explicit curricula for educators in the early years regarding gender and sexuality in young children.
... These examples are indicative of a stylized dissonance between voice and appearance used to represent trans subjects, especially trans women (Davis, 2009). The effect is to mark trans women as deviant or fake compared to 'real' (i.e., cisgender) womenor, worse, to frame them as deceitful and fraudulent men (Bettcher, 2007;Richards, 2017; see also : Billard, 2019). ...
... These initial searches yielded 11 potentially relevant applications by five developers. Notably, however, searches that did not include the keywords 'training' or 'app' were dominated by results for novelty voice modulator apps, echoing transphobic discourses that position trans people as deceptive 'fakers' (Bettcher, 2007) or curiosities (Marvin, 2020). This finding resonates with previous work on gender, sexuality and algorithmic bias in app stores (see: Ananny, 2011;Cannon, 2021). ...
Article
Full-text available
Mobile applications for transgender voice training seek to help trans people alter their speaking voices, often with the goal of alignment with one or another pole of binary gender expression (i.e., voice ‘feminization’ or ‘masculinization’). These apps offer instruction, audio tools and feedback mechanisms that allow users to record, evaluate and track their progress relative to a desired – and gendered – goal. As with digital technologies generally, however, these apps draw on and reproduce particular ideas of both the needs and capacities of imagined users and broader social and political phenomena – in this case, voice, gender expression and gender transition. In the following paper, we undertake a critical discourse analysis of five mobile voice training apps for transgender people. We find that rather than offering expansive or open-ended conceptions of gender, these apps reproduce ideals of gender as not only binary but also white, affluent and able-bodied. We also offer a critique of the apps’ characterization of transition as reifying the normative authority of clinical and technoscientific knowledge and conditioning ‘authenticity’ on an ability to conform to (racialized, classed and ableist) binary gender norms.
... Most of the theorization of patterns of violence against transgender people focuses on homicides, particularly the fact that trans women, particularly trans women of color, are murdered at substantially higher rates than trans men and white trans people (Westbrook, 2021). In mainstream U.S. culture, there is a widespread belief that transgender people are "deceivers" who are "pretending" to be a gender they are not (Bettcher, 2007). This perception is particularly relevant in sexual situations where trans people are sometimes understood as trying to "trick" heterosexuals into homosexual encounters (Billard, 2019;Schilt & Westbrook, 2009). ...
... Unlike heterosexually identified cisgender women who tend to respond with verbal rejections, heterosexually identified cisgender men sometimes respond to the "discovery" that their actual or potential sexual partner is transgender by attempting to recuperate their claims to masculinity and heterosexuality by doing violence (Schilt & Westbrook, 2009). Moreover, cisgender men in sexual interactions with transgender women sometimes attack their partners due to shame about their own desires and beliefs that trans women are subhuman (Bettcher, 2007;Lyons et al., 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
Violence against transgender people is a prevalent but understudied form of gender‐based violence. In recent years, this body of literature has expanded substantially. However, analysis of violence experienced by transgender people has been hampered by a shortage of good data. This article explores those data dilemmas and details what is and is not currently known about violence against transgender people in the United States. National surveys with sample sizes large enough to facilitate comparisons between transgender and cisgender respondents as well as attend to diversity with the category of transgender tend to not ask questions that count transgender respondents. Moreover, when they do, surveys often do not follow established best practices. Additionally, qualitative research on this topic is underfunded, resulting in small sample sizes with similar constraints. Therefore, although there is increased knowledge around rates of violence for transgender versus cisgender people, differences in risk related to gender and race, and intimate partner and sexual violence, this knowledge is flawed and does not cover the range of violence that transgender people experience. To better address this topic, data collection and analysis must be improved and scholars should attend to ways to prevent violence against transgender people.
... In social systems where gender roles are rigidly defined, deviation from binary gender identities may be viewed as pathological and/or as a threat to the cultural norm. As such, the social system may actively discourage or suppress gender non-conformity [27][28][29], and if unsuccessful, the gender-atypical individual may be subjected to stigmatization, marginalization, isolation, and in some instances, physical harm [30][31][32][33][34]. ...
... Depending on socio-cultural traditions and values, the attitudes of people toward the transgender community range from acceptance and curiosity to discrimination, disgust, rejection, and assault/aggression [29,30]. The colonial and post-colonial landscape in South and Central Asia has created a system of societal stigma that relegates transgender people to the margins, resulting in family rejection, societal and institutional discrimination, and a life often characterized by beggary and diminished QoL [47][48][49]51]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Groups marginalized and/or isolated by minority status—including transgender individuals—are at significant risk for loneliness and diminished quality of life (QoL), effects that can be mitigated to some extent by coping styles. In this study, we examined the relationships among coping styles, loneliness, and QoL outcomes in a marginalized but understudied gender minority group, namely, 200 transgender individuals living in communities in an emerging/developing non-Western geo-cultural region of South-Central Asia (Pakistan), comparing them against a reference group of 100 heterosexual cisgender individuals. Results indicated strong relationships among coping styles, loneliness, and QoL in both transgender and cisgender groups. Moderating variable analysis revealed that coping skills—whether adaptive or maladaptive—help explain differences in loneliness and QoL not only between trans- and cis- gender individuals, but also within just the transgender group. The implications of these findings for intervention strategies to improve QoL among transgender populations are discussed, with reference to both the specific context within Pakistan and the larger context of transgender marginalization within many developing/emerging countries.
... Relatedly, empirical scholarship has analyzed transgender disclosure strategies in certain social contexts or relationships (e.g., Abelson 2016;Bettcher 2007;Brumbaugh-Johnson and Hull 2019;Galupo et al. 2014;Haines, Ajayi, and Boyd 2014;Hines 2006;Maguen et al. 2007;Pfeffer 2014;Schilt 2010;Ward 2010). For example, in her composition of trans men who were either stealth (not out) or out at work, Schilt (2010) found that cisgender women coworkers may have legitimated their gender as masculine but did not fully recognize them as men in all contexts and interactions (e.g., sexual interactions). ...
... Through examining the contexts associated with disclosures across various social interactions, this research extends how disclosure is a form of identity management (e.g., Brumbaugh-Johnson and Hull 2019; Doan and Mize 2020; Orne 2011). Extending previous scholarship that addresses transgender disclosures in certain social contexts or relationships (Abelson 2016;Bettcher 2007;Brumbaugh-Johnson and Hull 2019;D'Auggelli, Hershberger, and Pilkington 1998;Galupo et al. 2014;Haines et al. 2014;Hines 2006;Maguen et al. 2007;Pfeffer 2014;Schilt 2010;Ward 2010), my findings document the diverse contexts and concerns that mediate disclosures. ...
Article
Full-text available
Connecting theories of identity formation and coming out with impression management, this research highlights that transgender disclosures are not static. Rather, disclosures are continuously mediated by various contextual concerns, ranging from accurate gender recognition, discrimination and stigmatization, the cultivation of emotional and physical intimacy, alerting people of the bodily changes, and understandings of how bodies will be perceived. Through 20 interviews with trans men, I found that they manage their trans identity through two tactics: symbolic disclosure and disclosure avoidance. Disclosure patterns reveal a twin force shaping disclosures: Trans men want gender recognition and/or to strengthen relationships while simultaneously avoiding potential violence, discrimination, and stigmatization. This research contributes to sociological scholarship on identities and disclosure more broadly by elucidating some ways trans men strategically negotiate disclosures based on a variety of concerns.
... When labelled as fake women, hijra identities often encounter humiliating and life-threatening experiences from the grabbing of the breast to make sure it is real to checking the genitals by stripping off clothes (Revathi, 2010, p. 211). Gender presentation represents genital status (Bettcher, 2007) through the obfuscatory method, and clothed gender representation reflects nude gender presentation. This is bizarre because one of the primary functions of clothing is to hide the body. ...
... Revathi emphasises that she is a woman trapped in a man's body (Revathi, 2010). Bettcher (2007) clarifies that 'trans people have first-person authority (FPA) over their own gender', and boxing them into the category of women creates confusion. The same narrative is asserted by Vidya (2007), who emphasised her 'irrepressible femininity' (p. ...
Article
Due to their long-standing marginalisation in mainstream social and cultural settings, the hijra community continuously strives for recognition. Bollywood film Laxmii 2020 has added to the prejudice and misconceptions surrounding hijras by perpetuating biases and stereotypes and using them as a source of comic relief and mockery. This article examines the portrayal of hijras in the Bollywood movie Laxmii (Lawrence, 2020) based on two dimensions. The first is gender identity, as examined through the performative theory of gender rather than essentialist formulations. Second, Baudrillard’s (1983) formulation of postmodern hyperrealism is applied to analyse the exaggerations and mutilations of common concepts. Considering the positive and negative portrayals of hijra characters in Bollywood movies, we attempt a comparative study to comprehend the evolution of hijra representation diaphanously. However, in Laxmii, a substantial gap is recognised between reality and fiction, as the movie fails to demonstrate the real-life experiences of the hijras while paving the way to the narrative of the unreal ghost. Keywords Hijras, Bollywood, Laxmii, movie, performativity, hyperreality.
... This is not to say that gender norms are not enforced everywhere. There are still areas in the world, and cultural domains where gender norms are violently enforced (Bettcher, 2007;Wirtz et al., 2020). However, there are clusters where the gender construct is starting to lose meaning, especially in more urban middle class settings. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper aims to show that genders are enacted, by providing an account of how an individual can be said to enact a gender and explaining how, consequently, genders can be fluid. On the enactive-ecological view we defend, individuals first and foremost perceive the world as fields of affordances, that is, structured sets of action possibilities. Fields of natural affordances offer action possibilities because of the natural properties of organisms and environments. Handles offer graspability to humans because of physical-structural properties of handles and the anatomical-physiological properties of humans. Although humans live in fields of bodily, action, and cultural affordances, our work focuses on cultural affordances, where action possibilities are offered to individuals because of the normative responses of individuals in that culture. Knocking on a door affords entrance because knocking provides cultured individuals on the other side of the door an affordance to which they themselves behave normatively. Usually, behaving normatively in response to cultural affordances brings about sequences of perception-action loops, which we will call “scripts”: for instance, closed doors afford knocking, which affords the individual inside opening the door, which affords an interpersonal meeting, which (may) afford entrance. Although the notion of script has a strong cognitivist flavor, one of the aims of the paper to provide an ecological account of scripts, to show that what cognitivists viewed as representations (or representational structures) are in fact environmentally structured perception-action loops. On our account of gender, gendered cultures build and maintain gendered cultural affordance landscapes, that is, landscapes in which the action possibilities individuals face are normed according to a specific body type or situation; most often (assigned) biological sex. Individuals enact a given gender when they come to perceive the affordances reserved for one gender by their culture and respond in the culturally normative way, thus enacting gendered sequences of perception-action loops (i.e., gendered scripts). With the shifting landscapes of cultural affordances brought about by several recent social, technological, and epistemic developments in some cultures, the gendered landscapes of affordances offered to individuals in these cultures have become more varied and less rigid, thus increasing the variety and flexibility of scripts individuals can enact. This entails that individuals in such cultures have an increased possibility for gender fluidity, which may in part explain the increasing number of people currently identifying outside the binary.
... Mahalingam, 2013;Vijayan et al., 2016). Furthermore, domestic programs police access to social services, such as health care, access to women's shelters, and, increasingly, sports spaces for transgender girls and children (Bettcher, 2007;Spade, 2008;American Civil Liberties Union, 2021). Like so many other modern technological development agendas-such as blockchain (Jutel, 2021), big data efforts (Couldry and Mejias, 2019), data privacy laws (Coleman, 2019), and social media (Oyedemi, 2019)the intricate web of the modern "artificial intelligence arms race" weaves together commercial and state interests with globalization and "trans panic" about the encroachment of gender non-conforming people into sex-segregated spaces. ...
Article
Full-text available
Scholars are increasingly concerned about social biases in facial analysis systems, particularly with regard to the tangible consequences of misidentification of marginalized groups. However, few have examined how automated facial analysis technologies intersect with the historical genealogy of racialized gender—the gender binary and its classification as a highly racialized tool of colonial power and control. In this paper, we introduce the concept of auto-essentialization: the use of automated technologies to re-inscribe the essential notions of difference that were established under colonial rule. We consider how the face has emerged as a legitimate site of gender classification, despite being historically tied to projects of racial domination. We examine the history of gendering the face and body, from colonial projects aimed at disciplining bodies which do not fit within the European gender binary, to sexology's role in normalizing that binary, to physiognomic practices that ascribed notions of inferiority to non-European groups and women. We argue that the contemporary auto-essentialization of gender via the face is both racialized and trans-exclusive: it asserts a fixed gender binary and it elevates the white face as the ultimate model of gender difference. We demonstrate that imperialist ideologies are reflected in modern automated facial analysis tools in computer vision through two case studies: (1) commercial gender classification and (2) the security of both small-scale (women-only online platforms) and large-scale (national borders) spaces. Thus, we posit a rethinking of ethical attention to these systems: not as immature and novel, but as mature instantiations of much older technologies.
... There is, of course, great variability in the viewpoints held by transgender people. Two noteworthy examples must suffice to make the point: Some transgender people describe their decision to transition as a matter of freedom and choice, and reject the "woman trapped in a man's body" (or vice versa) narrative (McCloskey 2007;Bettcher 2013Bettcher , 2014, while others insist there was no choice at all and embrace some version of the "wrong body" narrative. 3 Recently, some trans people support J.K. Rowling's and so-called "gender critical" scholars' right to speak (McCloskey 2020), while others actively work to "cancel" or "de-platform" such speakers (see Chapter 9). 4 In any case: ...
... There is, of course, great variability in the viewpoints held by transgender people. Two noteworthy examples must suffice to make the point: Some transgender people describe their decision to transition as a matter of freedom and choice, and reject the "woman trapped in a man's body" (or vice versa) narrative (McCloskey 2007;Bettcher 2013Bettcher , 2014, while others insist there was no choice at all and embrace some version of the "wrong body" narrative. 3 Recently, some trans people support J.K. Rowling's and so-called "gender critical" scholars' right to speak (McCloskey 2020), while others actively work to "cancel" or "de-platform" such speakers (see Chapter 9). 4 In any case: ...
Chapter
Full-text available
... The conf lation of gender presentation and bodily sex puts Gong-gil in a double bind as an "illusory" figure according to Talia Mae Bettcher's theory. 15 If Gong-gil is perceived to be visibly trans, they would be a "pretender." If they are seen as a cis woman, they risk forced disclosure. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Analyzing trans narratives about the early moderns through the lenses of affective labor and social reparation, this chapter reclaims as trans the Shakespeare films that have been misinterpreted as homosexual. In doing so, this chapter builds a longer, more intersectional history of gendered embodiment. ::: Reparative trans performances—works in which characters see their conditions improve—carry substantial affective rewards by offering optimism and emotional gratification, as exemplified by two recent films about early modern theatre making. The South Korean blockbuster The King and the Clown (dir. Lee Joon-ik, 2005) delineates the love triangle between a fifteenth-century king, a masculine jester, and a trans feminine character. Stage Beauty (dir. Richard Eyre, Lions Gate, 2004) chronicles the private life and stage career of the historical boy actor Edward Kynaston (1640–1712) who plays exclusively female roles before taking on male roles on stage. ::: By reading these two films in the context of trans cinema, this chapter makes an intervention in both transgender and Shakespeare studies by demonstrating new ways to interpret gender variance beyond just a dramatic device. :::: https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501759505/trans-historical/
... The concept of gender identity at work in trans debates should sit well with two closely related but distinct claims of trans activists: that denying a person's gender identity, or misgendering, is a grave harm and that we have a right to be treated, and perhaps also seen, as belonging to the gender with which we identify. This is a criterion widely endorsed amongst trans activists and supporters, such as Talia Mae Bettcher (2007), Katherine Jenkins (2016, 396 and2018), and Elizabeth Barnes (2020). Hence, the concept of "gender identity" should be such that people have, on non-instrumental grounds, a claim against others to respect their gender identifications. ...
Article
Talk of gender identity is at the core of heated current philosophical and political debates. Yet, it is unclear what it means to have one. I examine several ways of understanding this concept in light of core aims of trans writers and activists. Most importantly, the concept should make good trans people’s understanding of their own gender identities and help understand why misgendering is a serious harm and why it is permissible to require information about people’s gender identities in public life. I conclude that none of the available accounts meets these essential criteria, on the assumption that the gender norms of femininity and masculinity are unjustified. But we can, and should, pursue the feminist project without “gender identity”. Such feminism can include trans people because it is possible to account for the specific harm of misgendering without assuming a claim to the recognition of our gender identities. I conclude that we should eliminate the concept of “gender identity.” To understand the phenomena that are putatively captured by “gender identity,” we are better off employing other concepts, such as “sexual dysphoria,” (assigned or aspirational) “gender roles,” and (internalised or endorsed) “gender norms”. These concepts can usefully replace “gender identity” in an individual evaluation of each of the trans people’s claims to inclusion into particular spaces.
... The conf lation of gender presentation and bodily sex puts Gong-gil in a double bind as an "illusory" figure according to Talia Mae Bettcher's theory. 15 If Gong-gil is perceived to be visibly trans, they would be a "pretender." If they are seen as a cis woman, they risk forced disclosure. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Analyzing trans narratives about the early moderns through the lenses of affective labor and social reparation, this chapter reclaims as trans the Shakespeare films that have been misinterpreted as homosexual. In doing so, this chapter builds a longer, more intersectional history of gendered embodiment. Reparative trans performances—works in which characters see their conditions improve—carry substantial affective rewards by offering optimism and emotional gratification, as exemplified by two recent films about early modern theatre making. The South Korean blockbuster The King and the Clown (dir. Lee Joon-ik, 2005) delineates the love triangle between a fifteenth-century king, a masculine jester, and a trans feminine character. Stage Beauty (dir. Richard Eyre, Lions Gate, 2004) chronicles the private life and stage career of the historical boy actor Edward Kynaston (1640–1712) who plays exclusively female roles before taking on male roles on stage. By reading these two films in the context of trans cinema, this chapter makes an intervention in both transgender and Shakespeare studies by demonstrating new ways to interpret gender variance beyond just a dramatic device. :::: https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501759505/trans-historical/#bookTabs=1 ::::: ISBN: 978-1501759505
... Another argument for rejecting the medical model of transgender identity is found in its tendency to pathologize transgender identity. The prolific and influential transgender scholar and scientist, Julia Serano (2009), added to the trans critique of the medical model by arguing that the DSM category not only pathologizes trans identity but works to invalidate transgender people (see also Bettcher, 2007). Cisgender people, whose gender assigned at birth is congruent with their felt gender, are not necessarily more normal or healthy than people whose gender assigned at birth is incongruent with their sense of gender. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this concluding chapter we discuss some of the insights gained from juxtaposing three eclectic fields of knowledge: queer studies, transgender theory, and psychological research. Because the queer and transgender projects are political projects, in this conclusion we focus on understanding the processes that may lead to fragmentation within the queer and transgender movement as well as processes that are associated with continued solidarity activism among an increasing number of queer and transgender identities. To examine processes of intragroup conflict and solidarity activism we juxtapose research in social psychology, Black psychology, and contributions by queer thinkers in promoting community norms that support activism, dialogue, and solidarity.
... Transgender individuals, like sexual minorities, contrast with heteronormative gender norms, which revolve around a gender binary. As a result, transgender individuals are viewed as deviant, "immoral," and unworthy of additional rights and legal protection by those who believe in such gender roles (Bettcher, 2007;Perry & Dyck, 2014). Few states include gender identity as a protected class in their hate crime legislation, despite the documented disproportionate victimization rate among transgender individuals (Griner et al., 2020;Walters et al., 2020) and the lack of choice individuals have when it comes to their gender identity. ...
Article
Hate-motivated crime remains problematic in the United States. California passed the first hate crime law in 1978; Congress followed in 1990. States continue to amend their hate crime legislation, producing an amalgam of statutory provisions. This article creates a conceptual framework from which to classify hate crime legislation across the 50 states and Washington, DC. Laws were identified through Westlaw. Analyses compared the types of crimes covered, discrete and insular minorities protected, prosecutorial alternatives, mandates for law enforcement agencies, and additional rights provided to victims among states’ legislation. Considerable variation in scope and content of hate crime legislation exists among states, leaving several vulnerable groups unprotected, law enforcement underprepared, and victim rights and resources sparse. Future directions for hate crime policy and legislation are discussed.
... Gefühlsregeln sind laut Hochschild Demarkationszonen, , die es einer Person erlauben, bestimmte Gefühle zu haben, ohne sich schuldig fühlen zu müssen oder sich dafür zu schämen (Hochschild 1979 Interaktionsstrukturen bezeichnen also einen normativ geprägten Rahmen, innerhalb dessen wir uns -an gegebenen sozialen Normen orientiert -in sozialen Interaktionen verhalten. Durch unser Verhalten werden Interaktionsstrukturen aufrechterhalten oder auch reproduziert (Butler 1988(Butler , 1990Foucault 1970 (Bettcher 2007, Mikkola 2018, Zurn 2018. Dehumanisierung muss als alltägliches Phänomen begriffen werden, als etwas, dass in Interaktionsstrukturen eingewoben ist. ...
Chapter
Wenn wir davon sprechen, dass etwas sozial unangemessen ist, meinen wir damit in der Regel, dass es keine Übereinstimmung gibt zwischen dem erwarteten Verhalten und dem tatsächlichen Verhalten. Soziale Angemessenheit betrifft dementsprechend Fragestellungen, die (soziale) Normen betreffen. Betrachten wir Angemessenheitskriterien durch die Positionen bestimmter sozialer Gruppen, ist es uns möglich, gruppenspezifische Angemessenheitskriterien zu beleuchten und kritisch zu betrachten. Hier geht es um Fragen wie: Ist mein Verhalten meinem wahrgenommenen Geschlecht angemessen? Mit diesem Blickwinkel wird deutlicher, dass unseren Vorstellungen von sozialer Angemessenheit unter Umständen widersprüchliche Normen zugrunde liegen. Gerade wenn es um gruppenspezifische Fragen zur sozialen Angemessenheit geht, die etwa das Geschlecht, physische und mentale Befähigungen oder die Ethnie einer Person betreffen, kann Dehumanisierung eine Rolle spielen. Moderne Normen, so die Argumentation in diesem Kapitel, berücksichtigen Aspekte der Dehumanisierung, während traditionellere Normen diese tendenziell ignorieren. Hierdurch ergibt sich die Existenz widersprüchlicher Normen rund um soziale Angemessenheit. Im vorliegenden Beitrag wird erklärt, wie soziale Angemessenheit und dehumanisierende Interaktionsstrukturen zusammenhängen, um die Frage erörtern zu können, wie widersprüchliche Kriterien für soziale Angemessenheit zustande kommen und wie diese eventuell auch verändert werden können. Hierzu wird das Konzept der Skripte herangezogen.
... There is, of course, great variability in the viewpoints held by transgender people. Two noteworthy examples must suffice to make the point: Some transgender people describe their decision to transition as a matter of freedom and choice, and reject the "woman trapped in a man's body" (or vice versa) narrative (McCloskey 2007;Bettcher 2013Bettcher , 2014, while others insist there was no choice at all and embrace some version of the "wrong body" narrative. 3 Recently, some trans people support J.K. Rowling's and so-called "gender critical" scholars' right to speak (McCloskey 2020), while others actively work to "cancel" or "de-platform" such speakers (see Chapter 9). 4 In any case: ...
Chapter
Full-text available
... The eunuch and the consort put Gong-gil in a double bind as an "illusory" figure . 16 If Gong-gil is visibly trans, they are a pretender. If they "pass" as female , they risk forced disclosure. ...
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Even though Shakespeare’s plays were initially performed by all-male casts, they were designed to appeal to diverse audiences. Many modern adaptations reimagine those plays as expressions of gender nonconformity. Over the past decades, prominent films and theater works have fostered new public conversations about the politics of appropriating gender identities in Shakespeare’s plays around the world. This chapter makes an intervention in both transgender and Shakespeare studies by reading traditionally binary characters as transgender to shed new light on performances of gender identities in a global context. Viola as Cesario, for instance, is a trans masculine character, as she does not cross-dress for entertainment or mischief. She never recovers her “maiden’s weeds” at the end of Twelfth Night. We could deploy transgender theories to examine other cases as well, such as the practice of cross-gender casting (Julie Taymor’s 2010 film The Tempest), gender-bending performances (contemporary productions of Jacob Gordin’s 1898 play The Jewish Queen Lear), and postgender adaptations, in which gender is not treated as a meaningful denominator of characterization (Michelle Terry’s 2018 Globe productions). Performance theories inflected by transgender studies destabilize the line between normalcy and the deviant in and beyond scripted performance. ::::: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781683933601/Performing-Shakespearean-Appropriations-Essays-in-Honor-of-Christy-Desmet
... The conf lation of gender presentation and bodily sex puts Gong-gil in a double bind as an "illusory" figure according to Talia Mae Bettcher's theory. 15 If Gong-gil is perceived to be visibly trans, they would be a "pretender." If they are seen as a cis woman, they risk forced disclosure. ...
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This chapter explains the concept of reparative trans performances. These performances have two strands: open-ended self-realization and restoration to perceived norms of binary gender and heterosexuality. The call for social justice may seem universal, but the exact elements requiring reparation are malleable. Additionally, literature has been used as a strategy to understand human experience. The chapter expounds on the themes behind Stage Beauty , and The King and the Clown . Whilst the works have not been analyzed as transgender performances, they are commonly looked into as texts focusing on male homosexuality. Both narratives contest essentialist ideas that uphold oppression established on binary models of gender.
... The body can be identified as a problem: one's body is too sexual, not sexual enough, dangerous, aberrant, unnatural. For one striking example, consider how the bodies of transgender agents are socially policed with violent results (Bettcher, 2007). ...
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In this paper, I assess one dimension of self-injury through a framework of psychological oppression. Certain effects of psychological oppression, I argue, share a surprising degree of overlap with subjective features of self-injury, and may thereby partly explain socially marginalized agents' high risk of self-injury. I first discuss certain subjective features of self-injury that are particularly salient in agents' self-reports. I then canvass some of the literature on the risk of self-injury among members of socially marginalized groups. Focusing on one socio-cultural analysis of self-injury as a start, I discuss Sarah Naomi Shaw's (2002) feminist analysis of self-injury. I argue that while Shaw's analysis pays important attention to certain features of self-injury, its reliance on white feminine socialization, and body and beauty norms in particular, is overly restrictive. Finally, using Sandra Bartky's (1990) conception of psychological oppression, I focus on three features of psychological oppression and their connections to self-injury: 1) self-loathing and intra-self fragmentation; 2) bodily objectification; and 3) shame over acting out one's agency.
... Another argument for rejecting the medical model of transgender identity is found in its tendency to pathologize transgender identity. The prolific and influential transgender scholar and scientist, Julia Serano (2007), added to the trans critique of the medical model by arguing that the DSM category not only pathologizes trans identity but works to invalidate transgender people (see also Bettcher, 2007). Cisgender people, whose gender assigned at birth is congruent with their felt gender, are not necessarily more normal or healthy than people whose gender assigned at birth is incongruent with their sense of gender. ...
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In this chapter, we delineate some of the key themes in foundational transgender studies texts including: the rejection of the traditional male/female binary as prescribed by the medical model of transgender identity, the endorsement of a self-deterministic approach to gender identity, and the emphasis on the polyvocality of the transgender experience. Juxtaposing these themes with psychological research we describe the shift from a medical model of transgender identity to an affirmative paradigm in transgender care. We describe emerging research that documents the polyvocality of the transgender experience. Juxtaposing transgender studies with psychological research on transgender identity suggests interesting psychological differences between different identities under a transgender umbrella as well the importance of sustaining an understanding of transgender identity that is not constricted but that frame trans as a broad and inclusive space.
... Another argument for rejecting the medical model of transgender identity is found in its tendency to pathologize transgender identity. The prolific and influential transgender scholar and scientist, Julia Serano (2009), added to the trans critique of the medical model by arguing that the DSM category not only pathologizes trans identity but works to invalidate transgender people (see also Bettcher, 2007). Cisgender people, whose gender assigned at birth is congruent with their felt gender, are not necessarily more normal or healthy than people whose gender assigned at birth is incongruent with their sense of gender. ...
... Another argument for rejecting the medical model of transgender identity is found in its tendency to pathologize transgender identity. The prolific and influential transgender scholar and scientist, Julia Serano (2009), added to the trans critique of the medical model by arguing that the DSM category not only pathologizes trans identity but works to invalidate transgender people (see also Bettcher, 2007). Cisgender people, whose gender assigned at birth is congruent with their felt gender, are not necessarily more normal or healthy than people whose gender assigned at birth is incongruent with their sense of gender. ...
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In this chapter on sexuality, we examine three foundational postulations from queer theory. The first postulation is that the historical construction of sexuality, and same-sex desire in particular, tends to be based on binary thinking that positions same-sex desire as either universal (a “universalizing” view of same-sex sexuality) or as a disposition common to a minority of the population (a “minoritizing” view of same-sex sexuality). In contrast, queer theory moves away from a binary view of sexuality to conceptualize it as fluid. The second postulation is that people’s sexuality is shaped by interlocking forms of oppression such as colonialism, racism, sexism, and class oppression. The intersections of interlocking forms of oppression configure sexual identities and desires in unique ways. The third postulation is the rejection of a hierarchy of sexual practices and a focus on the proliferation of sexual categories to disrupt that hierarchy. We juxtapose these three key ideas with a review of critical psychology research, showing how psychological studies moved from a universalizing to a minoritizing view of same-sex desire, with a recent turn back towards the universalizing approach. We describe psychological contributions on the manner in which LGBTQ identities are different among people of color compared to white people as well as research that examines the influence of neoliberal ideology on sexual agency. We explore recent psychological studies related to BDSM and kink, polyamory, and asexuality. Assessing the convergence and divergence between psychology and queer thought leads us to critique the notion that a proliferation of sexual identities is necessarily libratory; instead, we argue for a more intersectional approach to sexual identities.
... There is, of course, great variability in the viewpoints held by transgender people. Two noteworthy examples must suffice to make the point: Some transgender people describe their decision to transition as a matter of freedom and choice, and reject the "woman trapped in a man's body" (or vice versa) narrative (McCloskey 2007;Bettcher 2013Bettcher , 2014, while others insist there was no choice at all and embrace some version of the "wrong body" narrative. 3 Recently, some trans people support J.K. Rowling's and so-called "gender critical" scholars' right to speak (McCloskey 2020), while others actively work to "cancel" or "de-platform" such speakers (see Chapter 9). 4 In any case: ...
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Drawing on second-wave Black and postcolonial feminist critiques of what Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyěwùmí calls “biological determinism,” this chapter reveals how Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists, or TERFs are rearticulating the same gender-essentialist logic that white feminists have historically used to subjugate Black, Indigenous, and Women of Colour (BIWOC) to now subjugate trans women. I argue that the operation of biological determinism in TERF functions to the benefit of the most privileged women in the world and therefore closes off a critical analysis of gender as a social structure. I conclude by arguing that the emergence of TERF signals the ongoing failure of the mainstream Western feminist movement to foster an inclusive and beloved gender and sex community and a subsequent need to rethink how feminism is practiced in the West
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This paper develops an account of misandrogyny that is modeled on Kate Manne's account of misogyny. On Manne's view, misogyny is a system of mechanisms that together police and enforce the gendered hierarchy of a patriarchal order. On the account developed here, misandrogyny is a system of mechanisms that together police and enforce the gender binary of a patriarchal order. The gender binary is constituted by norms that preclude the existence of persons who aren't consistently 'read' either as a man (and only a man) or as a woman (and only a woman). Misandrogyny thus polices and enforces the nonexistence of people who are neither women (only) nor men (only). After some clarifying preliminaries, section 1 describes mechanisms of misandrogyny that push individuals into specific binary gender positions; section 2 describes structures and institutions that compel gender non-conforming people to assimilate to the gender binary; section 3 describes mechanisms that target gender non-conforming persons for fatal violence.
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Deception sometimes results in nonconsensual sex. A recent body of literature diagnoses such violations as invalidating consent: The agreement is notmorally transformative, which iswhy the sexual contact is a rights violation.We pursue a different explanation for the wrongs in question: There is valid consent, but it is not consent to the sex act that happened. Semantic conventions play a key role in distinguishing deceptions that result in nonconsensual sex (like stealth condom removal) from those that don’t (like white lies). Our framework is also applicable tomore controversial cases, like those implicated in so-called “gender fraud” complaints. © 2021 The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. Published by The University of Chicago Press.
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Challenging the determinism evident in assigning gender at birth, this commentary examines how lesbian and trans feminisms resist gender fatalism through willful self-determination. Conceptualizing gender fatalism as a prophecy and drawing on Sara Ahmed's (2016) work on gender fatalism and willfulness and Talia Mae Bettcher's (2014) work on reality enforcement, I argue that most lesbian and trans feminisms defy the fated outcomes predicted by gender assignment and coerced by the biopolitical regimes of gender enforcement. Instead, these feminisms share a common thread of self-determination that is a site for coalition building and solidarity. I echo this call for a rejection of gender fatalism and for the collective work of gender liberation through living willful lives built from self-determination through bodily, sexual, reproductive, and gender autonomy.
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This paper addresses epistemic aspects of the phenomenon of obstetric violence—which has been described as a kind of gender violence—mainly from the perspective of recent theories on epistemic injustice. I argue that what is behind the dismissal of women’s voices in labor is mainly how the birthing subject, in general, is conceived. Thus, I develop a link between the phenomenon of testimonial injustice in labor and the marked irrationality that is seen as a core characteristic of birthing subjects: an irrationality that appears to be always at odds with the kind of knowledge that is, wrongly, privileged within medicalized childbirth. I use Miranda Fricker’s analysis to argue that a central part of obstetric violence involves laboring women being “wrongfully undermined specifically in their capacity as knowers” (2007: 9): they are disbelieved in the labor room because of a double prejudice, one deriving simply from their condition as women, the second involving the kind of knowledge that many women find useful in the process of birthing. Women in labor thus suffer from both systematic and incidental kinds of testimonial injustice.
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Background: This article presents a critical discourse analysis of the conservative political organization Yellow Vests Canada and its 100,000-plus member Facebook group (now deplatformed) to theorize far-right groups that harness pro-fossil-fuel/anti-environmental discourses to ideologically cultivate a broader assemblage of traditionally ultra-conservative political positions. Analysis: Yellow Vests Canada commonly utilized “petro-nostalgic” discourses, highly ideological beliefs that tie fossil fuels to a mythological nostalgia for an era of unbridled extraction and consumption, but also to this era’s hegemonic white supremacy, heteronormativity, masculinity, and settler-colonial nationalism. Conclusions and implications: Understanding far-right petro-political groups is imperative for environmental humanities researchers. The recent growth of these groups presents an alarming threat to progressive and equitable sociocultural politics, but especially to more environmentally sustainable government policies and a post-fossil-fuel future.
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This article examines discourses of (cisgender) girls’ empowerment in American sports and the concurrent legislative debates in U.S. politics to exclude trans girls from gender affirming teams. I deploy discourse analysis of Nike advertising featuring sportswomen and girl athletes and the political debates in state governments about transgender inclusion in sports. One discourse relies on affective circulation of hope and positivity generated from the image of the cis white girl while the other draws upon fear and hyperbole to disenfranchise trans athletes. These transmisogynistic legal measures exclude trans girls under the auspice of protecting cis white girl athletes from “biological men” who may hurt them or steal their confidence and opportunities. I argue that there is a strategic connection, or discursive formation, made between cis girls’ empowerment and trans exclusion that is fueled by patriarchal notions of protecting cis girls. This formation works primarily by infantilizing cis white women and adultifying trans girls and cis Black girls. As a result, feel-good representations of cis white girls serve as justification for the persistent subjugation of all women and girls by deflecting the cause of gender inequality away from the cis-white supremacist-patriarchy and onto trans girls—especially those who are Black.
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In 2021, the United States experienced the most active year on record for anti-trans legislation. In 2022, we are witnessing the renewal of this legislative harassment, with increased success on the part of anti-trans lawmakers. When these bills are passed into law and, importantly, even when they are resoundingly defeated or fail to reach an actual vote, the harmful rhetoric and ideology that is attached to them reverberates throughout trans communities resulting in social and psychological harm for transgender, nonbinary, and gender diverse people. The burden of addressing and offsetting this harm is often placed on the shoulders of other trans people who serve as grassroots leaders in their communities. This article argues that while this support is lifesaving for individual trans people, transformative change requires an increase in structural competency in our mainstream social institutions, and makes the case for applied trans studies as a pathway to that end.
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The paper considers and rejects two arguments against the performance of sexual reassignment surgery. First, it is argued that the operation is not mutilating, but functionally enabling. Second, it is argued that the operation is not objectionably deceptive, since, if there is such a thing as our 'real sex', we do not know (ordinarily) what it is. The paper is also intended to shed light on what our sexual identity is and on what matters in sexual relations.
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There is a pervasive pattern of discrimination and prejudice against transgendered people within society. Both economic discrimination and experiencing violence could be the result of a larger social climate that severely sanctions people for not conforming to society's norms concerning gender; as such, both would be strongly associated with each other. Questionnaires were distributed to people either through events or through volunteers, and made available upon the World Wide Web. A sample of 402 cases was collected over the span of 12 months (April 1996-April 1997). We found that over half the people within this sample experienced some form of harassment or violence within their lifetime, with a quarter experiencing a violent incident. Further investigation found that experiencing economic discrimination because one is transgendered had the strongest association with experiencing a transgender related violent incident. Economic discrimination was related to transgendered people's experience with violence. Therefore, both hate crimes legislation and employment protections are needed for transgendered individuals.
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I argue that Mordque Wittig's view that lesbians are not women neglects the complexities involved in the composition of the category “woman.” I develop an articulation of the concept “woman” in the contemporary United States, with thirteen distinct defining characteristics, none of which are necessary nor sufficient. I argue that Wittig's emphasis on the material production of “woman” through the political regime of heterosexuality, however, is enormously fruitful for feminist and queer strategizing.
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Kessler and McKenna convincingly argue that gender is not a reflection of biological reality but rather a social construct that varies across cultures. Valuable for its insights into gender, its extensive treatment of transsexualism, and its ethnomethodological approach, Gender reviews and critiques data from biology, anthropology, sociology, and psychology.
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No issue of sexual deception, Gwen Araujo was just who she was
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rape, racism, and the myth of the black rapist
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Defense lawyers claim heat of passion in transgender killing case
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reaction to mistrial in teenager's killing. Mercury News
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Man says he didn't kill teen after learning of gender. Mercury News
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Fernandez, lisa, and Matthai chakko Kuruvila. 2002. Man says he didn't kill teen after learning of gender. Mercury News, October 24.
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Deadlocked jury sent a message of hope
  • Hutchison
Double standard in reactions to rape
  • Calef
Prosecutors to retry transgender slay case
  • Locke
Reaction to mistrial in teenager's killing
  • Wronge
Defense in Araujo trial gives final argument
  • St. John
Man says he didn't kill teen after learning of gender
  • Fernandez
Testimony in “Gwen” case
  • Kuruvila
Who put the “trans” in transgender? Gender theory and everyday life
  • Kessler
Mistrial declared in transgender murder
  • Lagos
Trying to understand Eddie's life—and death
  • Reiterman
Understanding genderism and transphobia
  • Emilia Lombardi