Transmedicalism and ‘trans enough’

linguistic strategies in talk about gender dysphoria


  • Lex Konnelly University of Toronto



transnormativity, nonbinary, trans linguistics, healthcare


While gender dysphoria is a real and acute distress for many transgender people, it is not universal, and it is experienced and oriented to in a myriad of ways. However, its status as a prerequisite for gender-affirming care can lead trans people to feel compelled to amplify its salience in pursuit of medical support. Through a critical discourse analysis of nonbinary healthcare narratives, this article traces the relationship between linguistic practices in these care interactions and the gender and sexual logics of the transmedicalist model of trans-gender care. Individuals’ descriptions of dysphoria in the consultation room are not straightforward accounts of assimilation to transmedicalist expectations. Rather, when read from a trans linguistic perspective attentive to the biopolitics of transgender healthcare, these become strategies for nonbinary patients to enact their own interventions on a process over which (it may seem) they have minimal control, presenting a critical thirding (as described by Eve Tuck 2009) of a dichotomous view of either transnormativity or resistance.

Author Biography

Lex Konnelly, University of Toronto

Lex Konnelly is a PhD candidate in Linguistics and Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. Their research interests are situated within the interrelated areas of variationist sociolinguistics, sociocultural linguistics and linguistic anthropology, with an emphasis on linguistic innovation and advocacy in transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse communities of practice. Their doctoral research explores the role of language in gender-affirming healthcare access.


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How to Cite

Konnelly, L. (2022). Transmedicalism and ‘trans enough’: linguistic strategies in talk about gender dysphoria. Gender and Language, 16(1), 1–25.