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postgraduate thesis: Gender as a choice : the agency of transgender subjectivities

TitleGender as a choice : the agency of transgender subjectivities
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Szeto, MM
Issue Date2016
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Law, W. L. [羅蘊靈]. (2016). Gender as a choice : the agency of transgender subjectivities. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractThis thesis explores an alternative perspective to reinterpret gender binaries of male/female, masculinity/femininity and body/mind split in transgender (or shorthand trans) studies. Previous studies primarily decipher the distress of how trans people interpret their gender identity as the difference between their assigned sex at birth and the gender they prefer to be. They emphasize heavily on the mismatch of body and mind to justify the “sense of self” in identifying their inner perception of gender. I would however, demonstrate the limitations to locate the gender identity of trans people by the feeling of their “sense of self”. The understanding of “self” in trans discourse is problematic, as it asserts, 1) “self” is constructed by the binary of body and mind; 2) there is only one kind of feeling attached to the “self” that is assumed to be correct; 3) there is a substantive core of “self”. By applying Jacques Lacan’s theories of mirror stage and feminine jouissance, my thesis suggests the possibility to demystify the body/mind dualism in trans studies. I also theorize the subjectivity of trans people without relying on the body/mind mismatch and the feeling of our sense of self with my gender experimentation project. As a non-surgical female-to-male trans person, I am also a female bodybuilder. My thesis investigate how my trans body is a rather transable and agendered body, a body that creolizes the masculine and the feminine to form something that is neither-masculine-nor-feminine. My thesis reinterprets and deciphers gender and “self” in dynamic relations rather than in terms of a fixated core. The manipulation of the trans “sense of self” is highly medicalized and pathologized as gender dysphoria in the psychiatric clinic, for the purpose of obtaining desirable sex reassignment surgeries. My thesis further explores the limitations of trans medical discourse that regulates the heteronormativity of trans people, and demonstrates the possibility to depathologize gender dysphoria for some trans people. I also explore the trans legal aspect, and suggest alternative deployment of trans political strategies, especially in the trans-local Asian context. The aim of my thesis is to challenge the mandatory stable perception of gender and gender identity, by offering an alternative reading that transcends gender boundaries through the example of female bodybuilding. The thesis contributes to understanding the plasticity of constructing one’s gendered being in order to reclaim the agency of transgender subjectivities. It suggests that the becoming of a trans person involves a continuous process and a free will of choice instead. This study adopts qualitative research methods and deploys multiple methods such as textual analysis, case studies, ethnography, focusing on transgender subjects who are female-to-male trans people; and self-ethnography. Through these approaches my thesis offers new insights into trans discourses and experience. This research is one of the few that attempts to challenge the inadequacy of the existing ontological framework in trans studies. By rethinking gender constructability and embodiment in transgender subjects, my thesis hopes to suggest an innovative viewpoint in understanding the dynamics of transgender agency.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectTransgender people
Dept/ProgramComparative Literature
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/279339

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorSzeto, MM-
dc.contributor.authorLaw, Wan Ling-
dc.contributor.author羅蘊靈-
dc.date.accessioned2019-10-28T03:02:23Z-
dc.date.available2019-10-28T03:02:23Z-
dc.date.issued2016-
dc.identifier.citationLaw, W. L. [羅蘊靈]. (2016). Gender as a choice : the agency of transgender subjectivities. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/279339-
dc.description.abstractThis thesis explores an alternative perspective to reinterpret gender binaries of male/female, masculinity/femininity and body/mind split in transgender (or shorthand trans) studies. Previous studies primarily decipher the distress of how trans people interpret their gender identity as the difference between their assigned sex at birth and the gender they prefer to be. They emphasize heavily on the mismatch of body and mind to justify the “sense of self” in identifying their inner perception of gender. I would however, demonstrate the limitations to locate the gender identity of trans people by the feeling of their “sense of self”. The understanding of “self” in trans discourse is problematic, as it asserts, 1) “self” is constructed by the binary of body and mind; 2) there is only one kind of feeling attached to the “self” that is assumed to be correct; 3) there is a substantive core of “self”. By applying Jacques Lacan’s theories of mirror stage and feminine jouissance, my thesis suggests the possibility to demystify the body/mind dualism in trans studies. I also theorize the subjectivity of trans people without relying on the body/mind mismatch and the feeling of our sense of self with my gender experimentation project. As a non-surgical female-to-male trans person, I am also a female bodybuilder. My thesis investigate how my trans body is a rather transable and agendered body, a body that creolizes the masculine and the feminine to form something that is neither-masculine-nor-feminine. My thesis reinterprets and deciphers gender and “self” in dynamic relations rather than in terms of a fixated core. The manipulation of the trans “sense of self” is highly medicalized and pathologized as gender dysphoria in the psychiatric clinic, for the purpose of obtaining desirable sex reassignment surgeries. My thesis further explores the limitations of trans medical discourse that regulates the heteronormativity of trans people, and demonstrates the possibility to depathologize gender dysphoria for some trans people. I also explore the trans legal aspect, and suggest alternative deployment of trans political strategies, especially in the trans-local Asian context. The aim of my thesis is to challenge the mandatory stable perception of gender and gender identity, by offering an alternative reading that transcends gender boundaries through the example of female bodybuilding. The thesis contributes to understanding the plasticity of constructing one’s gendered being in order to reclaim the agency of transgender subjectivities. It suggests that the becoming of a trans person involves a continuous process and a free will of choice instead. This study adopts qualitative research methods and deploys multiple methods such as textual analysis, case studies, ethnography, focusing on transgender subjects who are female-to-male trans people; and self-ethnography. Through these approaches my thesis offers new insights into trans discourses and experience. This research is one of the few that attempts to challenge the inadequacy of the existing ontological framework in trans studies. By rethinking gender constructability and embodiment in transgender subjects, my thesis hopes to suggest an innovative viewpoint in understanding the dynamics of transgender agency.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshTransgender people-
dc.titleGender as a choice : the agency of transgender subjectivities-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineComparative Literature-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2016-
dc.identifier.mmsid991044158735403414-

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