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Representing Transgender Embodiment in Film and Culture: Looking beyond the Transition Narrative in Amazon's Transparent

Representing Transgender Embodiment in Film and Culture: Looking beyond the Transition Narrative... In this article, I identify how the Amazon television series Transparent deploys narrative thematics of home, belonging and importantly, a journey to becoming, to stage a limited representation of transgender lives within a heterosexual economy. Transgender studies has long been preoccupied with the transition narrative as a primary tool of representation, it is a vehicle through which the disjointedness of gender transition can be reformed into a narrative that enables intelligibility and fosters a sense of belonging. I argue however that the transition narrative, which aims to make transgender lives visible (and consumable) to an audience of trans and non-trans folk, is limiting in its representational scope and may impede, rather than mobilise, this agenda. The transition narrative constructs transgender lives within normative frames of time and place, and in the codes of textual conventions that compulsively render transgender transition into narrative. In Transparent, the themes of home and belonging are used to lend a sense of cohesion to the experience of transition in ways that implicate the representation of its trans characters in a ‘universalising narrative of liberal democratic progress’ (Keegan 2013). I will examine the various ways this text employs the conventions of narrative and in doing so, fails to confront its audience with the daily cultural and social transgressions that make up the lived experiences of transition. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Somatechnics Edinburgh University Press

Representing Transgender Embodiment in Film and Culture: Looking beyond the Transition Narrative in Amazon's Transparent

Somatechnics , Volume 9 (1): 14 – Apr 1, 2019

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2044-0138
eISSN
2044-0146
DOI
10.3366/soma.2019.0266
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this article, I identify how the Amazon television series Transparent deploys narrative thematics of home, belonging and importantly, a journey to becoming, to stage a limited representation of transgender lives within a heterosexual economy. Transgender studies has long been preoccupied with the transition narrative as a primary tool of representation, it is a vehicle through which the disjointedness of gender transition can be reformed into a narrative that enables intelligibility and fosters a sense of belonging. I argue however that the transition narrative, which aims to make transgender lives visible (and consumable) to an audience of trans and non-trans folk, is limiting in its representational scope and may impede, rather than mobilise, this agenda. The transition narrative constructs transgender lives within normative frames of time and place, and in the codes of textual conventions that compulsively render transgender transition into narrative. In Transparent, the themes of home and belonging are used to lend a sense of cohesion to the experience of transition in ways that implicate the representation of its trans characters in a ‘universalising narrative of liberal democratic progress’ (Keegan 2013). I will examine the various ways this text employs the conventions of narrative and in doing so, fails to confront its audience with the daily cultural and social transgressions that make up the lived experiences of transition.

Journal

SomatechnicsEdinburgh University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2019

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