A grounded theory approach to Cross-dressing and Sex-changing.
by Richard Ekins
A social scientist's view of those males who transcend, cross or simply experiment with the gender barriers. Sounds daunting, but the book is well and entertainly written for the lay reader, yet is essential for the serious researcher of gender roles.
The first part explores the themes of sex, sexuality and gender crossing, from the public view, portrayed by the media, to the private experience of the gender changer.
The study proper begins with the second section, Mainly Theory, where the author compares the grounded theory approach with other conceptual models. In particular, he highlights the way they impose assumptions about the essential 'rightness' of existing gender organisation, with transgression seen as a pathology or 'deviance'. The author goes on to explore his subject from the Social World viewpoint, before concentrating on the methodology which grounded theory brings to the subject. In this it is clear that this is one of the few books that don't have an overt or covert political agenda.
The final part traces the progress of many gender people, from a person's beginning of male-femaling, through fantasy, to doing male-femaling. The wealth of intimate detail across a wide range of 'male femaling' makes for interesting but extremely informative reading. In particular, "Constituting" male-femaling describes a process that so many helplines are familiar with - the search for a final identity - a 'label that fits.' For this the author draws on the personal correspondence which has been donated to the Transgender Archive. The final chapter is consolidation, both of the book and of the personal journeys of its subjects.
Published by Routledge 1997
Paperback, 185 pages,
ISBN 0 415 10625 7
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