(Non) Transnormative Women: Violence, Dating, and Sex Work

Open Access
Nalbandian, Azniv Gabriella
Area of Honors:
Women's Studies
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Hilary Jade Malatino, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jennifer Ann Wagner Lawlor, Honors Advisor
  • Jill Wood, Faculty Reader
  • transwomen
  • trans
  • women
  • sexwork
  • porn
The intent of this research is to critically examine “transnormativity”. This concept prioritizes trans bodies that are gender normative, heterosexual, middle-class, white, and have access to gender affirmative methods, such as surgery and/or hormones (Malatino, 140). During the mid-twentieth century, a specific medical movement in the global north sought to produce trans women’s bodies that aligned with the medico-scientific construction of womanhood. Criteria that facilitated this construction of womanhood revolved around the embodiment of white racial indicators, heterosexuality, and normative gender representation. These transnormative attributes, served as a way to assimilate trans women into a seemingly dimorphic view of gender. Women who deviate from this medical model, due to a myriad of reasons, have been silenced, dehumanized, and subjected to violence. This research will examine trans women’s experiences, through autobiographical and biographical means, to complicate the medico-scientific construction of womanhood which aims to restrict the complexity of non-normative desires and embodiments.