Transgender theory: Embodying research and practice

  • Nagoshi J
  • Brzuzy S
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Transgender theory is an emerging theoretical orientation on the nature of gender and gender identity in understanding the lived experiences of transgender and transsexual individuals. It is distinct in emphasizing the importance of physical embodiment in gender and sexual identity. Transgender theory integrates this embodiment with the self and socially constructed aspects of identity through the lived experiences of those with intersecting identities. Thus, it provides a theoretical basis for reconciling feminist and queer theoretical scholarship with social work practice and advocacy, with regard not only to issues of working with transgenders but also to larger issues of group identity and social oppression. This article describes the emergence of transgender theory from feminist and queer theories that used social constructivist approaches to challenge essentialist ideas that maintained the oppression of certain gender and sexual identities. Transgender theory is also applied to specific issues of understanding, working with, and empowering transgender persons and building coalitions between them and other socially oppressed groups.

Author-supplied keywords

  • gender identity
  • sexual identity
  • transgender identity
  • transgender theory

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  • Julie L. Nagoshi

  • Stephanie Brzuzy

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