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Trans sites of self-exploration: From print autobiographies to blogs

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As trans people become more visible, form stronger communities, and continue to find new platforms to tell trans stories, our conversations surrounding sex and gender expand, become more nuanced, and we are able to articulate new ways of understanding and embodying gender. This article begins with a discussion of three autobiographical texts by trans-identified men: Jamison Green’s Becoming a Visible Man (2004), Matt Kailey’s Just Add Hormones (2005) and Max Wolf Valerio’s The Testosterone Files (2006). I argue that these texts all belong to a ‘second wave’ of trans activism and advocacy that was emerging in the 1970s and 1980s, around the time that the authors began socially and physically transitioning. This ‘second wave’ of trans activists moved away from dominant heteronormative narratives of trans identity of the ‘first wave’ that relied on respectability politics, but continued to build on the idea of a clear, cohesive and enduring sense of gender identity. I then move on to interrogate the idea of a ‘third wave’ of trans discourse through an analysis of two blogs maintained on Tumblr.com by authors who originally identified as binary trans men, but whose experiences with moments of ‘unintelligibility’ in social and discursive contexts lead them to question the idea of a clear, cohesive and enduring sense of gender identity.
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Keywords: autobiography; blogs; cissexism; life writing; queer theory; transgender

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of New Brunswick

Publication date: 01 March 2017

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  • Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture (QSMPC) is a refereed academic journal devoted to the study of representations and expressions of queerness in its various forms. International in scope and representing a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, it publishes scholarship on topics at the intersection of media/popular culture and queerness in gender/sexuality. QSMPC invites articles and artwork pertaining to queerness in media and popular culture, as well as reviews pertaining to recently released queer media artifacts.
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