Kaufmann, Jodi Jan
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The position of transsexual in the West has been constituted in narrative as a specific body and subject position. To be a transsexual is to narrate oneself as a transsexual (Prosser, 1998). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine how narrative re/produces a transsexual body and subject. Specifically, I examined the structure of transsexual narratives and the body and subject represented in these narratives. This study was a narrative analysis (Bal, 1999). The participants for this study were two male-to-female transsexuals living in Georgia. The data consisted of two biographical interviews, two photo elicitations, and one Yahoo profile. The interview data collected were condensed using Bal’s (1999) concept of an event and Moustakas’s (1994) concept of data reduction. These narratives were then analyzed for their alignment to Roof’s (1996) heteronarrative structure – an introduction that commences in the heteronormative and foreshadows the struggles to come, a conclusion that ends in the heteronormative, and a middle which allows homology, or the logic of the perverse. The constituents of the body and subject – essential, inscribed (Foucault, 1980, 1984, 1990), discursive (Butler, 1993, 1997, 1999) and/or becoming (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987) of the protagonist in each narrative was also analyzed. It was found that the position of transsexual was contained within the heteronormative through the structure of narrative. Each narrative erased the homologic possibility of transsexual through concluding in the heterologic, the logic of productivity, capitalism, and the modern alignment of sex/gender/sexual orientation. Additionally, the homology of the middle was an illusion as each instance of ambiguity was quickly pulled back into the heteronormative. It was also found that the presentation of the body and subject followed a heteronarrative structure. Almost exclusively, each narrative began and concluded with an essential self and presented, albeit briefly, an ambiguous body and subject in the middle. Each homologic body and subject was thwarted, however, as it was quickly sutured to the heteronormative.