Date of Degree

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Women's and Gender Studies

Advisor

Dagmar Herzog

Subject Categories

Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

Keywords

Transgender, Politics of Recognition

Abstract

This thesis elaborates on the current practice and monopoly of the National Treatment Center for Transsexualism, which covers gender affirmative treatment through universal health care in Norway. This thesis examines this topic in the context of a broader debate regarding trans* people’s rights in Norway. This debate, which took place in multiple national newspapers, was incited by the decision of the Norwegian government to change the law regarding an individual’s right to change their legal gender in 2016. The debate was held between two main participants; The first group composed of critical voices who do not consider being trans* a real experience and the second group made up of trans* activists who defend the legitimacy of trans* experiences.

Elaborating on this debate in Norway, this thesis aims to answer the question of who should truly be acknowledged as experts on trans* issues. It argues, along with trans* activists, that the complex nature of gender identity renders “expert” perspectives that understand trans* people only through pathology an insufficient view. It is impossible to have complex conversations about trans* rights, treatment and experience in a pathologized framework as this approach is unable to account for the complexity of these conversations and leads to false conclusions. Intervening on this debate is an urgent project as conversations that primarily view trans as a disorder in need of cure contribute to the persistent lack of recognition trans* persons experience and, furthermore, undermine the agency of the group the conversation set out to help in the first place. Therefore, it argues, a shift of focus is desperately needed, because, intent aside, the consequences of the debate are being suffered by trans* people in Norway.

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