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Kön och förändring: Kontinuitet och normalitet i anhörigas relationer till transsexuella
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The categorisation of people into two kinds of subjects, men and women, as well as the notion that gender is natural and lifelong, are predominant ideas in contemporary society. When gender categories are challenged, new questions about gender arise. This is particularly evident for close relatives of transsexuals, who are subject to dominant discourses of gender, health and close relationships, at the same time as they have their relationship to maintain. The aim of this thesis is to explore how relatives handle, and make sense of their experience, when someone close is transsexual.

This interview study of 15 close relatives to transsexuals, explores how the relatives understand and ascribe meaning to the transrelationprocess. The purpose of the interviews was to identify how close relatives relate to discourses of gender and identity, positioning themselves as relatives and gendered subjects in relation to the transsexual person. The study also addresses the narrative process itself.

The analysis points to a “relatives-dilemma”, in which the close relatives relate to the transsexual in a way that is acceptable for the relationship, at the same time as dealing with the cultural images of gender, health and kinship, as understood by themselves and others. The analysis identifies three different conditions for the relatives’ sense-making process: the complete gender, health as an imperative, and reciprocity of consideration and care.

The metamorphosis of gender of a close relative can be regarded as a catastrophe, a breakthrough development, or both. The manner in which this is dealt with seems to depend on whether the transsexual relative is a female-to-male transsexual or a male-to-female transsexual, as well as on particularities in their relations to each other, and the relative’s own gender in relation to the transsexual. The common denominator found in the study was the relatives’ need for the construction of continuity of gender, and thus the construction of normality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Pedagogiska institutionen , 2007. , 162 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar från Pedagogiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1104-1625 ; 139
Keyword [en]
gender categorisation, identity, normality, transsexualism, relatives, narratives
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6838ISBN: 978-91-7155-425-3OAI: diva2:197170
Public defence
2007-06-05, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 A, Stockholm, 13:00
Available from: 2007-05-15 Created: 2007-05-03 Last updated: 2010-10-21Bibliographically approved

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