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Maria Dich Herold

Doing Un/Troubled Subject Positions as a Transgender Woman with Autism: The case of Vera

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This paper aims to capture in/exclusion processes in one transgender person’s life, a person who is also diagnosed with autism. We do this through Staunæs’ (2005) concept of troubling subjectivities, which helps us to explore how one specific person, Vera, ‘does’ or negotiates her identities as a neurodiverse transgender woman. We pay particular attention to how the two categories of transgender and autism intersect and which in/exclusion processes they set in motion. In this way, we unfold how identifying as transgender and having been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder shape Vera’s life. Specifically, we aim to unveil how these two social categories shape her degree of agency in her private social relations and in institutional settings of both education and healthcare. This is important to explore for two reasons: a) the intersections of multiple social categories change the conditions under which someone is allowed to do their particular personhood in different social settings, and b) research shows that a significant number of transgender people also inhabit the clinical category of autism. We show, that while Vera is able to perform identities related to the categories of transgender and autism in personally empowering ways, she is at the same time obstructed by what we refer to as identity overwork. That is, others’ positioning of Vera as ‘troubled’, repeatedly requires her response, on multiple social levels and in various contexts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen, Gender & Research
Volume32
Issue3
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

    Research areas

  • Transgender, autism, troubled subject positions, intersectionality, intelligibility

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