Transgender identities, intimate relationships and practices of care
This thesis is concerned with the social construction and formation of transgender identities, the impact of gender transition upon intimate relationships and the practices of transgender care networks. The research is linked to the ERSC research group Care, Values and the Future of Welfare (CAVA) and the focus of the project is in line with CAVA's enquiry into contemporary shifts in family, partnering and parenting practices, and the implications of these for future policy. The thesis is based on in-depth qualitiative interviews with thirty trans me and women who were purposely selected to reflect the diversity of transgender identity positions and experiences of gender transition. The overall theoretical concern for the thesis relates to transgender as a site through which to theorise gender identities as lying on a continuum of structure and agency; to signify identity as a fluid and contested concept, but one which also 'matters'. The study is developed from a queer sociological perspective, which is influenced by social theories of identity and engages directly with poststructuralist cultural theory. Additionally the study aims to bring a sociological analytic to the growing field of published literature within transgender studies. The work relates to contemporary sociological studies of identity, the body gender, sexuality, and practices of intimacy and care, and contributes to current debates about embodiment, reflexivity, agency and cultural difference. Located on the intersections of social theory, queer theory and transgender studies, the study represents the first UK empirical sociological study of transgender practices of identity, intimacy and care.