Embodying transgender: an analysis of trans women in online forums Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper discusses the way that trans women embody their transgender identity, focusing on identity questioning, gender dysphoria, clinical gatekeeping and medicalized narratives. Situated within the hermeneutics methodological approach, we adopted the unobtrusive research as our research method, where data was derived from online forums where trans women posted content about their perspectives and experiences of gender and gender transitioning. Thematic analysis method was used for data analysis. Our findings suggest that gender identity is embodied and socially negotiated. Many trans women were initially ambivalent about their transgender identity and some continued to question their desired identity throughout adulthood. When presenting to healthcare professionals many trans women reported being expected to adopt a ‘wrong body’ narrative in order to gain access to treatment and surgery for gender transitioning and affirmation. In doing so, trans women interact with significant others and health care providers, and face many challenges. These challenges must be understood so that trans women can perform self-determination practices as a way to achieve gender autonomy.


  • Liamputtong, Pranee
  • Noack-Lundberg, K
  • Dune, T
  • Marjadi, B
  • Schmied, V
  • Ussher, J
  • Perz, J
  • Hawkey, A
  • Sekar, J
  • Brook, E

publication date

  • 2020