Date of Degree

10-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Matthew Brim

Subject Categories

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies

Keywords

biology, gender, reproduction, transgender

Abstract

Most of us have been taught over the course of our lives that biological sex, gender, and reproduction are inescapably linked and, over time, this has created the illusion that these are all naturally connected. However, these “natural” connections have been formed over time after generations of repetition. While it may seem impossible to separate biological sex, gender, and reproduction from one another, it is important to deconstruct this falsely organic system from both a gender and human rights perspective.

This thesis seeks to explore the complex relationship between society’s reproductive mandate and the reality of the various processes of reproduction in relationship with gender. While society, on paper, simply demands that everyone reproduce, the truth is that society only wants a certain subset of people to do so — those who are heterosexual, cisgender, and behave in conventionally gendered ways. This thesis further examines the gender and biological essentialism inherent in society’s reproductive mandate and explores this mandate in relationship with trans* reproduction, noting that there are certain standards to which trans* individuals are held in order for their gender to be deemed authentic that cis* individuals are not.

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