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Queering gender : an exploration of the subjective experience of the development of transgender identity.

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Gender identity disorder is a disorder that challenges the predominant cultural understanding of gender and sex. A transgender person believes that s/he is of the opposite sex and gender than her/his natal sex. This study aimed to explore and describe transgender people’s experience of the development of their transgender identity, and the critical turning points that they experienced during the development of this transgender identity. Furthermore, the study explored the influence of religion and spirituality on the development of the transgender person’s identity and how their transgender identity in turn influenced their spirituality and spiritual identity. Feminist and queer theories were utilized in this study. A phenomenological approach was used to explore the lived experience of five transgender individuals. The findings suggest that these five transgender people find themselves between the sex categories of male and female and the gender categories of the feminine and the masculine. This finding challenges the Western dichotomous view of gender and sex. It further emerged that religion/spirituality does influence the development of a transgender identity as well as the process of gender reassignment. Key terms: Transgender, gender identity disorder, sex change, transsexual, G/god/dess, self-identity, phenomenology, queer identity, gender queer, queer theology, binary discourse, fluid gender, trans man, trans woman.


Thesis (M.Soc.Sc.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2010.


Transgenderism., Transgenderism--Religious aspects., Transgender people., Gender identity., Theses--Psychology.