Publication Date

5-2014

Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

3-11-2014

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Major Advisor

Natalie Nelson-Marsh, Ph.D.

Advisor

Heidi Reeder, Ph.D.

Advisor

John G. McClellan, Ph.D.

Abstract

Gender and identity are complex and often ubiquitous in nature. This is a study about gender and identity and the ways in which they manifest through the narratives of five transgender individuals, who all transitioned after the age of 45, who now live as women. This study about the transgender experience adds a significant and important perspective on gender, identity, identification, and the relationship between gender and identity. The most important conclusions are the lengths to which these people go to support gender social constructs, reinforcing the immense strength of the social construction of gender. The idea that social constructs are intensely powerful is of no great surprise to those reading this paper. However, the way in which this power manifests communicatively in narrative demonstrates a unique influence, one in which there is a full circle result. This thesis challenges the social construction of gender,, the power of identification with social constructs, and the ultimate contradiction in reproducing these constructs while attempting to change them.

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final thesis edits

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