Within masculinity studies, the majority of the literature focuses on the perspectives of cisgender men. The current research project aimed to explore the concept of masculinity further by including the perspectives of trans* identified men. I conducted in-depth interviews with trans* identified men in order to answer three research questions: How do trans* identified men (FTM, transsexual, transgender, transguys, genderqueer, or gender variant) embody (incorporate and express) and perform masculinity? How do trans* identified men recount their experiences of gender socialization? And finally, how, if at all, do trans* identified men experience transphobic discrimination? I asked the first two questions to cisgender men in the form of an online survey. My interview participants focused on the idea that masculinity as a concept is socially constructed and they cited societal pressures, male role models, and the either/or dichotomy of gender as sources of their perceptions of what masculinity is and how they embody it. All of my interview participants expressed masculinity through clothing style and how they carried themselves. The cisgender men in my survey also showed masculinity through their appearance and noted that masculinity does not depend on specific behaviors or actions. All participants in my interviews recalled having experienced transphobic discrimination, whether in the workplace, the bathroom, medical/legal arenas, or in school. By analyzing the juxtaposition of trans* and cisgender men's ideas of masculinity, I have contributed to the study of masculinity, especially in terms of its lack of inclusion of trans*men. My research aids in the continuation of the attempt by many trans* theorists to show how our society enforces a gender binary and how this strict binary is harmful in terms of how it dictates what is and what is not considered masculine.
Date of Degree
Master of Arts (MA)
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Haak, A. M. (2014). The Embodiment of Masculinity among Trans* Identified Men [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/296/
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