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Social Sciences Research InstituteSocial Sciences Research Institute

Masculine Gender Variance and the Linguistic Construction of Identity in Texas and New Zealand

As part of a theoretical agenda to examine the relationship between gender and sexuality and how they are lived and constructed, the main goal of this project is to understand through linguistic and ethnographic research how transgender men (individuals who were assigned to the category female at biiih but now identifY as male) are linguistically constructing their identities in two culturally distinct, English-speaking regions-Texas and New Zealand. The masculinities available to them are constrained not only by legal policies, medical technologies, and a shared history of settler colonialism, but also by transnational discomses about transgender identity set in motion by activists, the media, non-profit organizations, and transgender individuals seeking community suppmi through the Internet. Thus, the project's three research questions are: I) How do the intersections of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and class shape the masculinities of gender variant individuals? 2) What context dependent linguistic forms are used or extended in the production of these local masculinities identities? 3) How are transnational discourses about transgender identities shaping/creating new categories and masculinities? Through ethnographic, sociolinguistic, and discourse analytic methods I examine how, in these contexts, local productions of gender and sexuality are reified, dismantled, or assembled anew.