Telling Stories to Live: Hawaiian Trans Narratives on Gender and Sex Work
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The overall objective of the thesis is to provide new data about trans identity formation and trans sex work in Hawai i, while simultaneously critically discussing everyday performances of heteronormative gender identity through exploring their subjective experiences. Thus, the thesis intends to contribute both empirically and analytically to the research field of gender and sexuality, trans and sex work research in particular, considering the following questions: How do trans stories and story telling work to reproduce and problematize heteronormativity, and influence subject formation? In which ways do they invoke a temporality of a present and a future? What do the stories tell us about which bodies matter? In which ways do Hawaiian trans sex work reproduce and problematize stereotypes of sex work and sex workers? How does the sex worker identity interact with the trans identity, and how do other types of work come into play? How are non- normative bodies like the trans sex worker body sanctioned by society and state institutions? How do Hawaiian trans sex workers navigate the complications inherent in passing? How does the discourse of heteronormativity affect self-perception and produce particular notions of gender amongst trans sex workers? In which ways do gender norms regulate the trans body into the role of the freak? In which ways is passing, i.e., the quest for womanhood, both a threat to the well being of trans sex workers, and concomitantly an indispensible necessity for their survival?