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"You don't always like your sisters, but you always love them": Trans feminine accounts of misogyny, sisterhood and difference in New York City
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines six trans feminine informants in New York City's experiences of oppression, trans-misogyny, femi-negativity, racism, and classism, as well as their experiences of community support, conflicts and resistance practices through the lens of the term sisterhood and the practice of sisterhooding. Focus has also been placed on the informant's views on allyship and coalition, and their relationship to other communities, such as the trans masculine community. The research has been conducted through in-depth, semi-structured, qualitative interviews with six trans feminine activists in New York City. The informant group was heterogenous in regards to age, race/ethnicity, as well as in regards to where in the city they resided and which parts of the movement they were engaged in. My findings follow Jenny Gunnarsson Payne's (2006) theory on sisterhood as an empty signifier, as my informants had different definition's of the term and concept of sisterhood, and while all of them expressed ambivalences towards the term and concept, they also all used the term to varying degrees. Several saw advantages in using the term to describe kinship and solidarity between trans feminine people. The participating informants in the study listed several different conflicts within trans feminine movements. Many of them were generally skeptical to conflicts, especially to those related to cattiness, competition, language and terminology – sentiment's which I agree with, albeit with the addition, which some of my informant's also stressed, that certain conflict's regarding differences in oppressions related to intersectional hierarchies, may be necessary. In the concluding chapter I argue for an understanding of trans-sisterhood based both on an understanding of similarities and difference's in experience and an understanding of solidarity that prioritizes the voices, perspectives and leadership of the most marginalized. My informant's described grave street harassment, employment discrimination and experiences of desexualization from gay/queer men and hypersexualization from so-called tranny chasers. Because of the lack of previous research on trans femininities from the perspective of an understanding of the specific oppressions of trans-misogyny and femi-negativity, this thesis has had a broad, rather then detailed, perspective and following in the foot steps of Julia Serano (2007) argues for an analysis on the position of trans women and other trans femininities beyond the gender neutral category of transgender. A majority of my informants sharp statements on the subordination of trans femininity to trans masculinity supports my argument for the need of more research in the field of trans femininity studies with perspectives from both transgender studies and critical femininity studies. 

Abstract [sv]

Genom djupintervjuer undersöker uppsatsen sex olika transfeminina informanter i New Yorks erfarenheter av förtryck, trans-misogyni, femi-negativitet, rasism och klassism, såväl som deras erfarenheter av stöd, konflikter och motståndspraktiker, vilket sker genom ett undersökande av deras inställning till termen systerskap och den systerskapande praktiken. Fokus har också legat på informanternas syn på allierade, koalitioner och deras relation till andra grupper, som till exempel transmaskulina personer. För att fånga in en intersektionell bredd av erfarenheter var informantgruppen heterogen i förhållande till ålder, “ras”/etnicitet, samt i förhållande till var de bodde i staden och vilka delar av rörelsen de var engagerade i. Informanterna beskrev grova erfarenheter av trakasserier på gatorna och diskriminering på arbetsmarknaden, samt erfarenheter av hypersexualisering från så kallade tranny chaser's och avsexualisering från homosexuella och queera män. I linje med Jenny Gunnarsson Payne's (2006) teori om systerskap som tom signifikant, hade mina informanter många olika definitioner av begreppet systerskap, och medan många av dem uttryckte ambivalenser i förhållande till termen, använde sig alla av begreppet i varierande grad. Flera av dem såg stora fördelar i att använda termen för att beskriva samhörighet och solidaritet mellan transfeminina. Mina informanter listade flera olika konflikter inom de transfeminina rörelsen och var allmänt skeptiska till konflikter, framförallt till de som handlade om elaka attityder, tävlande, språk och terminologi – vilket jag håller med dem om, med tillägget, som en del informanter också tydliggjorde, att visa konflikter gällande intersektionella hierarkier kan vara nödvändiga. Jag argumenterar  för en förståelse av trans-systerskap som baseras både i en förståelse av likheter och skillnader i erfarenheter sam i en förståelse av solidaritet som prioriterar perspektiven och ledarskapet av de mest marginaliserade rösterna. Uppsatsen har ett brett perspektiv eftersom det tidigare gjorts väldigt lite forskning om transfemininiter utifrån den specifika förståelsen av trans-misogyni och femi-negativitet. I likhet med Julia Serano (2007) argumenterar jag för ett analyserande av transkvinnors och andra transfemininas situation bortanför trans som könsneutral kategori och får stöd i majoriteten av mina informanters skarpa uttalanden om den hierarkiska underordningen av transfemininitet gentemot transmaskulinitet. Slutligen menar jag att det behövs mer forskning inom fältet transfemininitetsstudier med perspektiv både från kritiska femininitetsstudier och transstudier. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 72 p.
Keyword [en]
Trans feminine, sisterhood, trans-sisterhood, femi-negativity, trans-misogyny, New York City, trans women, femininity, intersectionality
Keyword [sv]
Transfeminin, systerskap, trans-systerskap, femi-negativitet, trans-misogyni, New York City, transkvinnor, femininitet, intersektionalitet
National Category
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28093OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-28093DiVA: diva2:847994
Subject / course
Gender Studies
Uppsok
Humanities, Theology
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-08-24 Created: 2015-08-22 Last updated: 2015-08-24Bibliographically approved

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