‘The other kind of coming out’

Transgender people and the coming out narrative genre

Authors

  • Lal Zimman University of Colorado at Boulder

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v3i1.53

Keywords:

transgender, gay and lesbian, coming out, narrative, identity, ideology

Abstract

This article demonstrates the importance of considering transgender speakers apart from gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, even where there is significant overlap in the linguistic practices of these groups. Through an analysis of transgender coming out narratives, it is shown that previous accounts of this genre, which have focused on gays and lesbians, do not extend to the entire LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community. Coming out as transgender differs from coming out as gay or lesbian primarily in that there are two distinct ways a person can come out as transgender: before and after a change in gender role. The dissimilarity of coming out before such a transition and afterwards presents a challenge to previous characterizations both of coming out and the narratives that result from this practice. Ultimately, the coming out narrative genre reveals itself as a venue for making sense of stigmatized identities in community-specific ways.

Author Biography

Lal Zimman, University of Colorado at Boulder

Lal Zimman is a PhD student in the department of linguistics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His dissertation research deals with gender, sexuality and voice among transgender speakers.

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Published

2009-08-28

How to Cite

Zimman, L. (2009). ‘The other kind of coming out’: Transgender people and the coming out narrative genre. Gender and Language, 3(1), 53–80. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v3i1.53

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Section

Articles