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Presentation on theme: "IDENTITY AND QUEER THEORY"— Presentation transcript:

Transsexuals and Drag Queens Jennifer Wilding Communications and Sexuality

This presentation is based on my resent research on transsexuals and drag queens. I came across the queer theory and decided to opt for an identity based presentation given that to every person identity and finding oneself is part life's challenges. For this presentation I investigated the themes of identity in the circumstances that involve the “queer” community, theory and differences within it.

3 Drag queen According to Merriam-Webster: a drag queen is a male homosexual who dresses as a woman especially for comic or theatrical effect

4 Transvestite A transvestite: is a person and especially a man who adopts the dress and often the behavior typical of the opposite sex especially for purposes of emotional or sexual gratification. Eddy Izzard: "Women wear what they want and so do I". "Most transvestites fancy women".

5 Transsexual Lea T: Transsexual Brazilian model
Finally in the same dictionary the definition of a transsexual: a person who psychologically identifies with the opposite sex and may seek to live as a member of this sex especially by undergoing surgery and hormone therapy to obtain the necessary physical appearance (as by changing the external sex organs)


7 Identity It is only natural for a human being to find the place where he or she is accepted and/or loved. We are social creatures who to a certain extent define ourselves with what we are surrounded with and what others may believe that we are. The purpose to this is to be able to explain ourselves. To define who we are in the simplest of terms. Sometimes a simple word doesn’t cut it. Of course we have pre determined tendencies (John/Joan case) and these may only help find that place or group where we may feel free to express our true selves but this need for acceptance may take us in a direction that also challenges who we really are. In the clip above I wanted to show what the definitions of these terms can be in a more colloquial manner and also through the perspective of a person within the group. Also toward the end we notice how much pressure there can be within the same group.

8 “I wish I could accept my body as a man
“I wish I could accept my body as a man. I would be a straight guy, having a girlfriend and a family, daughters, married, a normal life, but it's something in your brain.” “It's really difficult because you fight with all the world. You fight with your family. You fight with yourself too.”

9 Queer theory David Halperin says : “Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence. 'Queer' then, demarcates not a positivity but a positionality vis-à-vis the normative.” In “Must Identity Movements Self-Destruct? A Queer Dilemma” Joshua Gamson discusses queer theory and queer politics paying particular interest in identity. “In the hands of many letter writers, in fact, queer becomes simply a shorthand for “gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender,” much like “people of color” becomes an inclusive and difference erasing short-hand for a long list of ethnic, national, and racial groups.”

10 Also from Joshua Gamson “Eric Marcus seeks to distinguish himself: ‘Queer is not my word because it does not define who I am or represent what I believe in… I’m a man who feels sexually attracted to people of the same gender. I don’t feel attracted to both genders. I’m not a woman trapped in a man’s body, nor am I a man trapped in a woman’s body. I’m not someone who enjoys or feels compelled to dress up in clothing of the opposite gender and I’m not a “queer straight,” a heterosexual who feels confined by the conventions of straight sexual expression… I don’t want to be grouped under the all encompassing umbrella of queer… because we all have different lives, face different challenges, and don’t necessarily share the same aspirations. (1993: 14)” Queer theory and activism has a positive effect by teaching our society that there is no real “norm” and that being “normal” is a social construction created by our own language. "These names: gay, queer, homosexual are limiting. I would love to finish with them. We're going to have to decide which terms to use and where we use them. For me to use the word ''queer'' is a liberation; it was a word that frightened me, but no longer." -Derek Jarman

11 Conclusion Language itself can be very limiting and society must challenge the custom of labeling and stereotyping. Hiding behind words can sometimes be comforting but we need to realize that we are far more than that. We bound not only others but ourselves with names and divisions. We are not our gender or our sexual preferences or our nationality or our skin. We are so much more than the sum of our parts. We can choose the words that capture us and let others choose their own and this way we can let our essential selves shine through. And on a lighter and more fun note…



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