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Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health





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Contemporary representations of transgendered people often reinforce rigid gender binaries of masculinity and femininity, leading transgendered individuals to feel they must seek out hormones or surgery to “correctly align” their bodies with their gender. Cultural texts (e.g., films, television, Internet, digital texts) reinforce this “pre-op or post-op” ideology for trans identity. The pre-op or post-op MTF or FTM binary mandates an alignment with the heterosexual gender system (feminine female or masculine male). In this article, the author focuses on trans identities and how representations codify the need or desire for surgery and hormones and examines the paradoxical reification of gender and sexual stereotypes (particularly dichotomization) by electronic media for transgender consumers of these media at the same time that these same sources provide an abundance of information for those who would otherwise not be made aware of the resources available to them. The competition between marketing of products and services for transgender individuals and provision of otherwise nonprofitable information for the same individuals ranging from normalizing, informing of sources of help and health information is examined as well as the use of the Internet as a medium for transitioning individuals to share their experiences. This article argues that instead of a culture of hormones and surgery, teachers, medical professionals, and counselors should embrace and educate towards acceptance of trans identities and bodies that does not rely on the mandate of hormones or surgeries. Finally, the impact of the dissemination of information in the uncontrolled environment of the Internet illustrates the impact of culture on media and vice versa.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in [Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health] on [January 30, 2012], available online:

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.