Turning the spotlight on the "wizard behind the curtain": How do transgender women experience and navigate male privilege and entitlement, pre- and post-transition?
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 19:59 authored by Margaret Kelly
The aim of this project is to explore how transgender women experience and navigate male privilege when they lived as men and now as they live as women. The project conducted qualitative in-depth interviews with twelve transgender women from diverse backgrounds and the data was analysed through the lens of Raewyn Connell's concept of hegemonic masculinity, and masculinity's ideology of supremacy and claim to authority. Transgender women participants' responses echoed the main elements of Connell' s concept and evidenced that privilege is unevenly distributed among multiple masculinities. This unevenness is reflected in participants' experiences of and attitudes to male privilege and hegemonic masculinity, pre-and post-transition. Furthermore, participants described how the defense of masculinity's uneven allocation of authority and privilege and the subordination of women is normalised and institutionalised. Participants' responses reflect Connell' s concept of hegemonic masculinity and tum a spotlight on a complex social structure difficult to identify, define and, therefore, to challenge. This project argues that it is the very complexity and elusiveness of the structure and the invisibility of the advantages it bestows on some men that is one of its strengths. And it is transgender women's reflections on their pre-and posttransition experiences of privilege that illuminate these often hidden and takenfor-granted gender norms and social structures and the gender inequality they perpetuate.