The Transgender Tipping Point and trans representation in contemporary young adult (YA) fiction

Nash, Jackson Jessie (2019) The Transgender Tipping Point and trans representation in contemporary young adult (YA) fiction. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (1MB)
[img] PDF (Volume 2 - EMBARGOED permanently) - Published Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (810kB)


The Transgender Tipping Point was a phrase used by Time magazine in 2014 to describe the increased visibility of transgender people in popular culture. Visibility is often viewed as not just progress, but proof that the fight for transgender acceptance is nearly over. However, upon closer inspection it becomes clear that only certain types of trans narratives are highly visible. Those favoured in the media are ones which conform to idealised stereotypes of gender and sexuality, the masculine heterosexual man and the feminine heterosexual woman. As they become the template for expected (and thus acceptable) transition narratives, other types of trans identity become invisible and not palatable for a mainstream audience. This thesis explores how trans youth, who are noticeably absent in studies on youth and gender, are represented in Young Adult (YA) fiction and popular culture. Taking a cultural studies approach, I analyse not just the text of YA fiction, but also the production of these texts in relation to The Transgender Tipping Point. I explore strategies used in the production of fiction, such as self-publishing, which allow trans-identified authors a greater freedom in their storytelling. The packaging of trans identities to make them palatable (as either acceptable or something freakish that can be demonised) is a theme central to this thesis and is explored through detailed analysis of cover art, plotting, metaphor, temporal relationships and youth subcultures. The issue of visibility is further complicated for trans youth as certain types of media focus on the morality or negative ‘issue’ of youth transition, framing transition as dangerous and frightening in a way which recalls the earlier treatment of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the press.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ0012 Sexual life > HQ0018.55 Gender identity
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN3311 Prose. Prose fiction > PN3427 Special kinds of fiction. Fiction genres > PN3443 Juvenile and young adult fiction
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2019 10:45
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:48

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update