In pursuit of resonance: Exploring sexed and gendered 'discord' and 'dissonance' in relation to the health and social welfare 'needs' of the transgender community

Hartley, Christine Faye (2004) In pursuit of resonance: Exploring sexed and gendered 'discord' and 'dissonance' in relation to the health and social welfare 'needs' of the transgender community. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This thesis explores the health and social welfare 'needs' of the transsexual/transgender community and how they have come to be recognised, understood and managed within interventions. It focuses on the way the 'needs' of 'trans' people have commonly come to be understood as grounded within a sexual and erotic framework and how different levels of 'emotional needs' have come to be socially erased, regulated and controlled. A constructionist approach to social
enquiry is used, data being generated through focus groups and personal interviews. By taking a particular approach that focuses on the 'trans' experience of 'ambiguity' and 'difference', it considers narrative forms in language and how discourses have served to modulate, regulate and maintain 'needs' within this sexual and erotic context. By focusing on the dominant narrative forms 'trans' people use in language and the 'ambiguities' and 'contradictions' they produce I look at the strategic practices that come into play in language that attempt to transcend and overcome the difficulties they present for 'trans' people.
Through a reworking of the 'modes of transgendering stories' developed by Ekins and King (1999; 2001 a; 2001 b) I focus on notions of 'erasing' and 'negating' not as particular modes or processes, but as dialogically opposed communicative actions that actually constitute migrating, oscillating and transcending stories. It is argued that a closer examination of the strategic practices of 'erasing' and 'negating' notions of 'ambiguity' and 'difference' and 'trans' visibility in stories is useful in
unearthing a range of 'needs' associated with 'emotional fit', which have yet to be discovered. Using discursive techniques I consider how particular levels of 'needs' that have come to be discursively mediated and recognised by health and social
welfare professionals often fall short in supporting some individuals. It therefore argues for the integration of a more gender performative approach to practice and policy development in relation to the provision of health and welfare services for
'trans' people, an approach that recognises and acknowledges the ambiguities, contradictions and differences that exist within the everyday life of trans people.

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