Transgender Theory and Embodiment: The risk of racial marginalisation
Journal of Gender Studies
Queer theories have received criticism for their ethnocentrism and their lack of careful attention to the lived realities of transsexual and transgendered people. A forum is being established through the publication of transgender theorists' work, where transgender theorists may rework 'queer', but how well does this reworking address concerns about ethnocentrism? For some 'transpeople' it is important to maintain traditional cultural values by resisting identi cation with (contemporary
... ontemporary western) medical discourses on transsexuality. How might queer and transgender theorising inform and be informed by the discursive pathways being carved out by people for whom medicalised understandings of gender may be deemed culturally inappropriate? I illustrate the points made in this paper by drawing from interviews with gender liminal people who live in New Zealand and who belong to cultures indigenous to the South Paci c. Whilst wholeheartedly supporting the efforts of transgenderists to challenge medical constructions of transsexuality, one of the purposes of this paper is to critique the way perspectives of whiteness echo, largely unacknowledged, through transgender theorising and to thus inspire more critical thinking about the racialised aspects of transsexual bodies and transgendered ways of being.