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Critique Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

Deconstructing the complex perceptions of gender roles, gender identity, and sexual orientation among transgender individuals

By Julie L Nagoshi, Stephan/ie Brzuzy, and Heather K Terrell, 2012

Conventional heteronormative beliefs about the nature of gender roles, gender identity, and sexual orientation are fundamentally challenged by the experiences of many trans- gender individuals. Eleven self-identified transgender individuals were interviewed about their definitions of, understanding of the relationships between, and perceptions of their own gender roles, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The questions focused on how transgender individuals define gender roles vs gender identity, how they defined themselves on these dimensions, and how they perceived the relationships among gender roles, gender identity, and sexual orientation. All of the participants understood gender roles to be social constructs and viewed gender identity as being more fluid, compared to essentialist, binary, heteronormative ideas about gender. Most viewed sexual orientation as being dynamically related to gender identity. These findings are discussed in terms of an emerging transgender theory of the nature of gender that transcends essentialist, traditional ideas, as well as social constructionist views of fem- inist and queer theories.

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