Working at gender? An autoethnography

O'Shea, Saoirse Caitlin (2020). Working at gender? An autoethnography. Gender, Work and Organization, 27(6) pp. 1438–1449.



In this essay I wish to explore the idea of work in relation to the arguments that trans folk ‘[claim] an illegitimate sex/gender status” in order to ‘pass” whilst cisgender people are just ‘doing gender rather than passing” it. Such a denaturalisation of our sex/gender implicitly requires that we both work at passing and that passing is our very work; a work that we are driven to, can never fulfill and that indelibly inscribes us as duplicitous, inauthentic, unnatural and monstrous. (I pronominally include myself because I am a non‐binary trans person). As a non‐binary person my work is to manage the erasure of my gender in favour of a binary choice or be undocumented and so be excluded from legal, paid employment.

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