Trans men and friendships: A Foucauldian discourse analysis

Zitz, C., Burns, J. and Tacconelli, E. (2013) Trans men and friendships: A Foucauldian discourse analysis. Feminism and Psychology, 24 (2). pp. 216-237. ISSN 0959-3535.

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While research focusing on friendships of sexual minority individuals has increased over the last two decades, studies of transgender persons’ friendships have been largely absent. Yet, within mainstream literature it has been demonstrated that friendships are central both to identity formation and as support in terms of psychological need and distress. Given that trans people face important identity challenges and may well be disenfranchised within society the role of friendships warrants study. Research which has occurred has largely focussed on trans women, yet trans men face particular issues in terms of their relationships with lesbian women and being positioned as joining patriarchy. This study explored this gap in the literature and used Foucauldian discourse analysis to explore friendship and gender identity. Dominant discourses identified included ‘friends as family’, ‘romance’ and discursive practices of ‘disowning male privilege’, ‘effeminate heterosexual male’ and ‘gender fluidity’ which counter hegemonic (trans) male re-positioning within friendships. The results indicate that trans men elevate the status of friends to those of other culturally dominant relationships (e.g. family or sexual partner). Furthermore, their friendships, in particular friendships with lesbian women, can become complex platforms from which to contest privilege and power associated with their (trans) masculinities. Conceptual and research implications are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gender identity transgender friendship masculinity discourse analysis
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM1001 Social psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > HQ0019 Sexual behavior and attitudes. Sexuality
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0435 Psychiatry > RC0467 Clinical psychology
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Prof Jan Burns
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2014 16:22
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2016 10:29

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00