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Title: (Im)possible patients? : negotiating discourses of trans health in the UK
Author: Pearce, Ruth
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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Trans people are increasingly visible in society, yet remain highly vulnerable to ignorance and discrimination. This can be particularly damaging in the context of healthcare, where trans people often find it difficult to access both general and specialist services. However, trans people are not powerless; they frequently exercise agency in navigating and addressing challenges in healthcare settings. This thesis provides an ethnographic account of how discourses of trans health are negotiated in the UK within and between trans community spaces, activist groups and the professional sphere of medical practice. A descriptive and interrogative account of healthcare services and health literatures is provided; this is interwoven with an analysis of emotional and temporal narratives of patient experience, as constructed collectively on the Internet. Drawing upon conversations, articles and documents produced and/or published online, the thesis explores how competing and intersecting understandings shape not only the material conditions of healthcare, but also the means by which trans identities and experiences are defined and made possible. Trans possibility is conceptualised in terms of two overarching discursive repertoires: ‘trans as condition’ and ‘trans as movement’. The former emerges largely from medical accounts, and broadly positions ‘trans’ as clearly definable and delineated. The latter emerges largely from the ideas of the emergent trans social movement and broadly positions ‘trans’ as queer, fluid and flexible. Health professionals, trans patients and activists draw differently upon discourses of condition and/or movement within a range of contexts in order to justify, reify, survive or question modes of healthcare provision and understandings of trans possibility. This thesis concludes that interactions between trans patients and the practices of specialist ‘gender identity’ services play a particularly key role in mediating discourses of trans health. Through understanding this process, we might better understand and address the wider challenges that trans people face.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HQ The family. Marriage. Woman