Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

First Advisor

Juliana Kubala

Second Advisor

Megan Sinnott

Third Advisor

Jennie Burnet


Research presented in this project examines how the social construction of sexuality affects cisgender (cis) men's attraction to transgender women. While mainstream discourse roots gender normative males' attraction to transgender women in heterosexuality, this project demonstrates how cis-trans pairings emerged from homosexuality in the twentieth century. This project traces the way sexologists' elaboration of the differences between sex, gender, and sexuality helped to distinguish transfeminine people from trans-attracted gender normative males using Foucauldian genealogy. Further, this project examines how researchers have adapted nineteenth-century frameworks of same-sex desires as sexual fetishes to construct gender-conforming “healthy” desires aimed at transsexual women by using the elaboration of these categories in the science of transsexualism. By doing so, this project illustrates how researchers deemphasized the body of trans people and elevated their gender to ensure a white middle-class cis-normative society.


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