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Cult Health Sex. 2011 Mar;13(3):355-70. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2010.537770.

Views from both sides of the bridge? Gender, sexual legitimacy and transgender people's experiences of relationships.

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Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.


The aim of this paper is to examine whether transgender people's experiences of relationships are influenced by heteronormativity, the related concept of sexual legitimacy, and gender as a binary construct. Data from an Internet-based study of transgender people in the USA was used. Findings seem to indicate that participants were strongly influenced by heteronormative discourses. However, less rigid gender beliefs are associated with lower levels of internalised transphobia, which, in turn, are associated with higher levels of self-esteem. Transgender people can therefore find themselves in a double-bind where, on one hand, conforming to gender and sexual norms leads to validation by mainstream US society, but could possibly entail diminished psychological well-being.

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