Bodily aesthetic affects: towards a wider spectra of desire

Davy, Zowie (2014) Bodily aesthetic affects: towards a wider spectra of desire. In: XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology, 13th-19th July 2014, Yokohama.

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The sexualisation of trans people is a thorny issue due to the pathologizing undertones within sexological literature. After many years of being on the one hand, silenced about sexuality or on the other hyper-sexualized, for fear of being pigeon-holed as unworthy recipients of medical interventions by the medical teams providing healthcare, transsexual and transgender people have started to explore and produce their “sexual bodies” and represent them in novel ways through prose, poetry and pornographic film. ’The political move to illustrate the wider ‘spectra of desire’ (Stryker, 2006) and experiences of trans-sexuality was announced to be politically important as a way of shifting stereotypical associations surrounding trans embodiment and sexuality generally. These projects of sexual representation rely on transforming spaces and discourses within cultural mediums in which transpeople explore their sexuality. Pornography and erotica are two sites that offer personalized accounts of trans-sexuality that often speaks back to their medicalization. I argue, in the words of Kate Bornstein (1994: 163), these erotic productions offer “irreverence for the established order” and incorporate the “often dizzying use of paradox” which underpins my analysis. Using trans erotica texts, I will illustrate that ‘transsexualism’ and ‘transgenderism’ are not solely about gender, as a core characteristic, and suggest that sexuality is part of trans subjectivity too. I will suggest further that new representations of trans-sexuality within the erotic representations pose challenges to the medical policy and practices surrounding trans medicalization and the sedated ideas surrounding transpeople as either non-sexual or hyper-sexual. This focus on erotica allows for new analyses and conceptualizations of trans-sexuality that incorporate bodily aesthetic affects of the transitioned and transitioning body. Simultaneously, understanding trans bodily aesthetic affects helps us move away from territorialized identitarian markers, such as gay, lesbian and bi and explore a wider spectra of trans desire.

Keywords:trans* desire, sexuality, bodily aesthetics, erotica, medical policy
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
L Social studies > L510 Health & Welfare
L Social studies > L320 Gender studies
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
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ID Code:15020
Deposited On:21 Sep 2014 20:34

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