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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Re/defining gender and sex : subtitle educating for trans, transsexual, and intersex access and inclusion to sexual assault centres and transition houses White, Caroline

Abstract

This thesis examines the work of sexual assault centres, transition houses, community educators and activists, in educating for trans, transsexual, and intersex access to sexual assault centres and transition houses. Results of a questionnaire sent to 104 sexual assault centres and transition houses in British Columbia revealed that 45 of the 62 organizations that responded identified as being accessible to transgendered women, clearly refuting the popular perception that the majority of sexual assault centres and transition houses are inaccessible. Interviews with eleven educators and activists showed that trans, transsexual, and intersex education in sexual assault centres and transition houses was generally divided into three distinct areas: "Trans" 101, which provides the foundation for all subsequent education; the development of policy; and anti-violence education. The educators and activists identified various trends in their work including: the conflation of all trans, transsexual, and intersex identities under the rubric "trans"; and the privileging of gender over sex variances, male-to-female (MTF) identities over all others, and gender over all other forms of identity, including race, class, sexuality and ability. Some educators and activists argued that the degree to which some identities are privileged over others, is the degree to which "trans" will continue to be perceived as synonymous with white, middle-class, straight and able-bodied MTF transsexuals, and the degree to which all other identities and related issues will be rendered (in)visible. Educators and activists also examined the relationship between opposition to trans, transsexual, and intersex access and inclusion to sexual assault centres and transition houses, and dominant feminism's continued privileging of sex and gender over all other analyses such as race, class, heterosexism, and ableism.

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