Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2020


Influenced by queer theory, comic studies, and Gloria Anzaldua’s theorization of Nepantla, this project attempts to interrogate causation as an underlying principle of queer narrative and further explore how the need to justify transgender (trans*) existence works to preserve pathological ideologies around the trans* body. Specifically, I acknowledge and resist the common use of tropes such as “Born in the wrong body” and “I’ve always felt like the opposite sex”, as they are reproduced in and through trans* narratives as methods of justification for trans* existence. I argue that these tropes are etiological and grounded in biological determinism, as they emphasize gendered innateness as reason or cause of trans*existence in contrast to sociological forces (Rohy 25).ii The failure to balance biological and sociological factors of gendered existence allows these tropes to become etiological quips that contribute to a binary of biological “rightness” and “wrongness” (natural/unnatural) that maintains trans* experience as a medical conditioniii and perceived gendered coherence as inherently organic. In other words, the attempt to justify trans* existence with biological causation actually renders itself pathological by refusing to acknowledge the social construction and maintenance of all gender structures and variabilities of human behavior. I argue that these tropes attempt to establish gendered coherence within the queer body by adhering to the “us” versus “them” ideology that permeates hegemonic gender discourse (i.e. men are from mars, women are from venus, etc.). Though these tropes are attempting to make trans* existence intelligible, I suggest they unintentionally reproduce harmful ideologies of binary opposition (i.e. us versus them) and ultimately “reflect our investment as social subjects in eliminating what’s queer” (Edelman). Here, the desire to eliminate queerness, to smear it, is acted out through attempts to define and regulate difference in its relation to sameness (the perceived ordinary) and presents itself as a contradiction—the desire to exclude is also the desire to connect, to fit, to make sense. It is within the throws of this contradiction, which this project has been formed.

Additional Files

girlpee_final.pdf (3315 kB)
Sherritt - Final Project