THE PARADOX OF TRANS VISIBILITY: INTERROGATING THE “YEAR OF TRANS VISIBILITY”

Stephanie N. Berberick

Abstract


Transgender narratives have increased in the contemporary mediascape, bringing to attention important critical questions about the types of trans representation available to audiences. Using the mediated climate of the United States as a case study representative of wider global trends, this paper employs textual analyses and a historiography of the phraseology “paradox of visibility,” (Seizer, 1995; Tseelon, 1995; Jones and Pugh, 2005; Barnhurst, 2007) to interrogate which transgender images are proliferated and the consequences of their consumption. I argue that there is a paradox of trans visibility, which highlights portions of transgender existence while obscuring others –  making it seem that society has progressed much further toward genderqueer tolerance than it realistically has. Furthermore, this paper posits that repeat representation of hyperfeminine, affluent transgender women is creating a trinary way of imagining transgender people and bodies that can intensify dangers transgender folks face.

Keywords


Transgender, social media, bathroom bill, internet activism, transgender representation, queer media, transgender tipping point, transgender visibility, trans media

Full Text:

PDF

References


REFERENCES

Ahmed, S. (2006). Queer phenomenology: Orientations, objects, others. Durham: Duke University Press.

Barnhurst, K.G. (2007) Visibility as paradox: Representation and simultaneous contrast. In K.G. Barnhurst (Ed.) Media/Queered: Visibility and Its Discontents. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, 1-20.

Bazargan, M., & Galvan, F. (2012). Perceived discrimination and depression among low-income Latina male-to-female transgender women. BMC Public Health, 12(1), 663-663. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-663.

Binker, M. and Leslie, L. (2017). Senate Democrats file HB2 repeal bill. WRAL. Retrieved February 3, 2017 from, http://www.wral.com/senate-democrats-file-hb2-repeal-bill/16492704/

Bitton, M. (2016). In Facebook [Business Page]. Retrieved April 2, 2017 from,

https://www.facebook.com/MegBittonPhotography/posts/10153063771317395

Blumberg, A. (2017). Draft of Trump ‘religious freedom’ executive order signals major win for conservative Christians. The Huffington Post, Queer Voices. Retrieved February 2, 2017 from, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-religious-freedom-executive-order us_5892a812e4b0af07cb6b8672?section=queer-voices&

Bond, B. J., & Compton, B. L. (2015). Gay on-screen: The relationship between exposure to gay characters on television and heterosexual audiences' endorsement of gay equality. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 59(4), 717. doi:10.1080/08838151.2015.1093485

Brownmiller, S. (1984). Femininity (1st Ballantine Books ed.). New York: Fawcett Columbine.

Butler, J. (2007). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York, NY: Routledge.

Cavalcante, A. (2016). "I did it all online:" transgender identity and the management of everyday life. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 33(1), 109-122. doi:10.1080/15295036.2015.1129065

Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241-1299.

Dame, A. (2016). Making a name for yourself: Tagging as transgender ontological practice on tumblr. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 33(1), 23. doi:10.1080/15295036.2015.1130846

Debord, G. (2000). Society of the Spectacle. London, England: Rebel Press.

Espineira, K. (2016). Transgender and transsexual people’s sexuality in the media. Parallax, 22(3), 323-329. doi:10.1080/13534645.2016.1201922

Evans, N. and Strang, F. (2015). Caitlyn Jenner looks JUST like Cindy Crawford: Reality star channeled supermodel at ESPY’s. The Mirror. Retrieved July 19, 2016, from

http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/caitlyn-jenner-looks-just-like-6079304

Fink, M., & Miller, Q. (2013/2014). Trans media moments: Tumblr, 2011–2013. Television & New Media, 15(7), 611-626. doi:10.1177/1527476413505002

Glazier, R. (n.d.). 18 questions, 18 answers: The real facts behind House Bill 2. North Carolina Justice Center. Retrieved February 3, 2017, from http://www.ncjustice.org/?q=18-questions-18-answers-real-facts-behind-house-bill-2

Glover, J. K. (2016). Redefining realness?: On Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, TS madison, and the representation of transgender women of color in media. Souls, 18(2-4), 338-357. doi:10.1080/10999949.2016.1230824

Goffman, E. (1979). Gender Advertisements. New York, NY: Harper and Row Publishers.

Grant, J.M., Mottet, J.D., Tanis, J., Harrison, J., Herman, J.L., & Keisling, M. (2011). Injustice at every turn: A report of the national transgender discrimination survey. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Retrieved June 11, 2016 from,

http://www.thetaskforce.org/static_html/downloads/reports/reports/ntds_full.pdf

Halberstam, J. (1998). Female Masculinity. Durham, NC: Duke.

Hall, S. (2000). Racist ideologies and the media. In P. Marris & S. Thornham (Eds.), Media studies: A reader, 2nd ed. New York, NY: NYU Press, pp. 271-282.

Hartman, C. W., & Ebooks Corporation. (2014). America's growing inequality: The impact of poverty and race. Lanham: Lexington Books

Holden, D. (2015). They just feel like they can dispose of us: Why are black transgender women getting killed in Detroit? BuzzFeed. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from,

https://www.buzzfeed.com/dominicholden/why-are-black-transgender-women-getting-

killed-in-detroit?utm_term=.dvVppzpDYb#.boPMMjMA5q

Horak, L. (2014). Trans on YouTube: Intimacy, visibility, temporality. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, 1(4), 572-585. doi:10.1215/23289252-2815255

Hughes, M. (2017). In Twitter [Personal Page]. Retrieved April 3, 2017 from,

https://twitter.com/_michaelhughes1/status/835992580416499712

Jacobo, J. (23 June 2016). Court orders Virginia school board to let transgender teen use boys’ bathroom. ABCNews. Retrieved 25 June 2016, from

http://abcnews.go.com/US/court-orders-virginia-school-board-transgender-teen-boys/story?id=40087185

Jones, J., & Pugh, S. (2005). Ageing gay men: Lessons from the sociology of embodiment. Men and masculinities, 7(3), 248-260.

Kidd, J. D., & Witten, T. M. (2007/2008). Transgender and Trans sexual Identities: The Next Strange Fruit-Hate Crimes, Violence and Genocide Against the Global Trans-Communities. Journal of Hate Studies, 6(1), 31-63.

Lee, C., & Kwan, P. (2014). The trans panic defense: Masculinity, heteronormativity, and the murder of transgender women. Hastings Law Journal, 66(1), 77.

Maglio, T. (2015). “The Views” Whoopi Goldberg on Caitlyn Jenner: “I was annoyed when Bruce looked better than me … Now I’m really pissed. The Wrap. Retrieved July 19, 2016, from http://www.thewrap.com/the-views-whoopi-goldberg-on-caitlyn-jenner-i-was-annoyed-when-bruce-looked-better-than-me-now-im-really-pissed-video/

Mirk, S. (2014, Oct. 8). Laverne Cox and bell hooks had a discussion about gender and pop culture. Bitchmedia. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from

https://bitchmedia.org/post/laverne-cox-and-bell-hooks-had-a-discussion-about-gender-and-pop-culture

Molloy, P.M. (2014). Time: Laverne Cox and the ‘Transgender Tipping Point’ cover.” The Advocate. Retrieved Feb. 11, 2016, from

http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2014/05/29/laverne-cox-and-transgender-tipping-point-cover-time

Mulvey, L. (1975). Visual pleasure and narrative cinema. Screen, 10(3), 6.

Namaste, V. (2000). Invisible lives: The erasure of transsexual and transgendered people. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

O’Neill, M. G. (2014). Transgender Youth and YouTube Videos: Self-Representation and Five Identifiable Trans Youth Narratives. In Pullen, C. (Ed.), Queer Youth and Media Cultures (pp. 34-45). London, EN: Palgrave Macmillan.

Peters, W. (2011). Pink dollars, white collars: Queer as folk, valuable viewers, and the price of gay TV. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 28(3), 193-20. doi:10.1080/15295036.2011.559478

Raley, A. B., & Lucas, J. L. (2006). Stereotype or success? Prime-time television's portrayals of

gay male, lesbian, and bisexual characters. Journal of Homosexuality, 51(2), 19-38.

Rayne, N. (2016). Lady in red! Caitlyn Jenner attends Elton John’s Oscar party, chats with Transparent’s Jeffrey Tambor. People. Retrieved June 14, 2016 from,

http://people.com/awards/oscars-2016-caitlyn-jenner-attends-elton-johns-oscar-party/

Raun, T. (2015). Archiving the wonders of testosterone via YouTube. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, 2(4), 701-709. doi:10.1215/23289252-3151646

Raun, T. (2015b). “Video blogging as a vehicle of transformation: Exploring the intersection between trans identity and information technology.” International Journal of Cultural Studies, 18(3): 365-378.

Schilt, K., & Westbrook, L. (2009). Doing Gender, Doing Heteronormativity “Gender Normals,” Transgender People, and the Social Maintenance of Heterosexuality. Gender & Society, 23(4), 440-464.

Schmider, A. (2016, November 9). GLAAD calls for increased and accurate media coverage of transgender murders. GLAAD. Retrieved Dec. 26, 2016 from,

http://www.glaad.org/blog/glaad-calls-increased-and-accurate-media-coverage-transgender-murders

Sedgwick Kosofsky, E. (1990). Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley, CA: U of California Press.

Seizer, S. (1995). Paradoxes of visibility in the field: Rites of queer passage in anthropology. Public

Culture, 8(1), 73-100.

Sheffield, J.P. (2017). In Instagram. [Personal Page]. Retrieved April 3, 2017 from, https://www.instagram.com/hillbillysuperhero/

Shapiro, E. (2004). Transcending barriers: Transgender organizing on the Internet. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 16, 165-179.

Shields, S. A. (2008). Gender: An intersectionality perspective. Sex Roles, 59(5), 301-311. doi:10.1007/s11199-008-9501-

Silva, D. (2017). HB2 repeal: North Carolina overturns controversial “Bathroom Bill.” NBCNews. Accessed 8 March 2017, from,

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/hb2-repeal-north-carolina-legislature-votes-overturn-controversial-bathroom-bill-n740546

Steinmetz, K. (2015). Why transgender people are being murdered at a historic rate. Time. Retrieved Sept. 9, 2016, from, http://time.com/3999348/transgender-murders-2015/

Stryker, S. (2008). Transgender History. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.

Taylor, T. (29 Dec. 2015). Why 2015 was the year of Trans visibility. Vogue. Accessed 25 June 2016, from, http://www.vogue.com/13383474/2015-year-of-trans-visibility/

Testa, R. J., Sciacca, L. M., Wang, F., Hendricks, M. L., Goldblum, P., Bradford, J., & Bongar, B. (2012). Effects of violence on transgender people. Professional Psychology, Research and Practice, 43(5), 452-459. doi:10.1037/a0029604

These are the trans people killed in 2016. (2016). The Advocate. Retrieved Nov. 17, 2016 from,

http://www.advocate.com/transgender/2016/10/14/these-are-trans-people-killed-2016

Transgender celebs you need to know. (n.d.). cbsnews.com. Retrieved June 22, 2016 from, http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/transgender-celebrities-you-need-to-know/

Tseelon, E. (1995). The masque of femininity: The presentation of woman in everyday life. London, England: Sage.

TvT research project (2017) “Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) TDoR 2017 Update”, Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide TvT project website. Accessed 14 May, 2018, from, http://transrespect.org/en/trans-murder-monitoring/tmm-resources/

West, I. (2014). Transforming Citizenship: Transgender articulations of the law. New York, NY: New York University Press.

Williams, P. (2017). Supreme Court rejects Gavin Grimm’s transgender bathroom rights case. NBCNews. Accessed 8 March 2018, from, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-supreme-court-rejects-transgender-rights-case-n729556




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17349/jmc118107

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Media Critiques [JMC]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.