I recently became aware of this relatively new publication from Duke University: Transgender Studies Quarterly, which I'm seriously considering subscribing to. They have a sample edition on line that is very interesting. I'm about halfway through and found this within an article about "Cross-Dresser(s)":
The bottom line is that in Western Euro-American cultures there is a sense in which the cross-dresser, especially the out cross-dresser, is the true gender outlaw. Of all the members of the transgender community, broadly understood as those who defy the identity of birth-designated sex with lived gender, she or he refuses one gender and moves back and forth at will, thereby demonstrating the constructed and essentially artificial nature of the bi-gender dichotomy. Unfortunately, the censure laid on cross-dressers keeps the majority firmly in the closet where they are politically unable to become the sort of force needed by the transgender movement. Should the walls between the genders weaken and become more permeable, it is the cross-dresser who will demonstrate that one can have more than one gender.
I think this also speaks to the discussions around transexuals insisting that those who would not transition aren't "truly transgender." Indeed, over time, I think we will see that those who do not or have no intention to transition (such as myself) will feel more free to be ourselves in public. It's off topic (and doesn't really matter) but one then has to wonder: what will be the percentage splits within the transgender community? As I read further in TSQ, there's an article titled "Guerrilla." Another interesting quote:
I get to write this, and you get to read it, because this journal exists. It’s an altogether astonishing moment. Beginnings are delicate times when the foundation stones of the edifice you’re building are still visible; maybe if we take a look around now, we can save ourselves some trouble later.
Further along in the same article...
And we’re very early in that moment. Keep in mind that no one working in transgender studies has a degree in transgender studies. That’s how close to the origin of our discipline we are. This is the way zeroth-generation disciplines work. The value in that particular fact for us is that trans studies is still coalescing. We don’t yet have a canon or a bunch of old folks telling us what the field is or what counts as its discourse and who gets to say stuff about and within it. But soon enough we will, as surely as the night follows the day, and you can count on that.
Exciting times we live in!
Transgender Studies Quartery -- Description
Over the past two decades, transgender studies has become fertile ground for new approaches to cultural analysis. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly offers a high-profile venue for innovative research and scholarship that contest the objectification, pathologization, and exoticization of transgender lives. It will publish interdisciplinary work that explores the diversity of gender, sex, sexuality, embodiment, and identity in ways that have not been adequately addressed by feminist and queer scholarship. Its mission is to foster a vigorous conversation among scholars, artists, activists, and others that examines how “transgender” comes into play as a category, a process, a social assemblage, an increasingly intelligible gender identity, an identifiable threat to gender normativity, and a rubric for understanding the variability and contingency of gender across time, space, and cultures. Major topics addressed in the first few issues will include the cultural production of trans communities, critical analysis of transgender population studies, transgender biopolitics, radical critiques of political economy, and problems of translating gender concepts and practices across linguistic communities.
I subscribed. Duke is first class, and an academic quarterly in the field is much encouraged.
Gender Studies as a scholarly field is coalescing around Phenomenology, Post-Structuralism, Literary-Critical Theory (metaphysics), and Semiotics. Most of this work is derived from radical feminist theory -- which ironically rejects the very patriarchal, gender stereotypical presentation of the hetero-normative dyad that many trans M to F aspire to.
I aspire to subverting the stereotypes -- Neither end of the dyad works for me, For now, and it's fluid, presentation for me is about "un-gendering" and liberating myself from the patriarchal oppression reflected in the two poles of the dyad. Curiously, I'm feeling more and more aligned with the radical feminist camp. Ironically, I've appropriated the presentation of a radical feminist (political as well as sartorial) . . . Ironically, this has me dressing like a radical feminist, gender ambiguous, man with long hair, ear-rings, and a political agenda.
Links and more discussion on my blog --