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Invisible Lives

The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People

Invisible Lives is the first scholarly study of transgendered people—cross-dressers, drag queens and transsexuals—and their everyday lives.

Through combined theoretical and empirical study, Viviane K. Namaste argues that transgendered people are not so much produced by medicine or psychiatry as they are erased, or made invisible, in a variety of institutional and cultural settings. Namaste begins her work by analyzing two theoretical perspectives on transgendered people—queer theory and the social sciences—displaying how neither of these has adequately addressed the issues most relevant to sex change: everything from employment to health care to identity papers. Namaste then examines some of the rhetorical and semiotic inscriptions of transgendered figures in culture, including studies of early punk and glam rock subcultures, to illustrate how the effacement of transgendered people is organized in different cultural sites. Invisible Lives concludes with new research on some of the day-to-day concerns of transgendered people, offering case studies in violence, health care, gender identity clinics, and the law.

320 pages | 2 maps | 6 x 9 | © 2000

Culture Studies

Gender and Sexuality

Psychology: Social Psychology

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

I. Theory
1. "Tragic Misreadings": Queer Theory’s Erasure of Transgender Subjectivity
2. Theory Trouble: Social Scientific Research and Transgendered People
3. Beyond Texualist and Objectivist Theory: Toward a Reflective Poststructuralist Sociology
II. Culture
4. "A Gang of Trannies": Gendered Discourse and Punk Culture
5. Gendered Nationalisms and Nationalized Genders: The Use of Metaphor in Mass Culture and U.S. Transsexual Activism
III. Research
6. Genderbashing: Sexuality, Gender, and the Regulation of Public Space
7. Access Denied: The Experiences of Transsexuals and Transgendered People with Health Care and Social Services in Toronto, Ontario
8. Clinical Research or Community Health?
Transsexual Perceptions of Gender Identity Clinics
9. The Administration of Erasure
The Bureaucracy of Legal Sex, a Vicious Circle of Administration, and HIV/AIDS in Quebec


Gustavus Myers Ctr/Study of Human Rights: Gustavus Myers Center Outstanding Book Award

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