The 1990s marked a shift for transgender studies, especially in relation to the US context. Prior to this last decade of the 20th Century, psychology and medical concerns defined what it meant to be transgender. With the arrival of the 1990’s came “a new scholarship…informed by community activism” that disconnected the transgender experience from these structures and, linked to a queer theory-turn, relocate it in the individual themselves, “enabling trans men and women to reclaim the reality of their bodies to create with them what they would, and to leaves the linguistic determination of those bodies open to exploration and invention” (Whittle, 2006: xii). This new queer poststructuralist turn noted what would become a constitutive split from prior transgender renderings and the beginning of a formative transsexual/trans binary.
Although this process had a different timeframe in Eastern Europe it followed a similar move from medicalized discourse on transsexuality to a transgender discourse more informed by social constructivism, queer theory and feminist theories. For example, in Poland during the late 1980’s and 1990’s, transsexuality was articulated through the medical sexologist discourse. It would not be until the late 2000s’ and early 2010s when Polish social scientists started investigating transgenderism through the constructionist and queer theory approach.
Moving from medical studies to social studies, and from an essentialist approach that limited the definition of transgenderism to transsexuality alone, to a constructionist and queer theory approach that depicts gender as fluid and socially constructed, we can observe a significant parallel change of attitude towards transgenderism not only in academi...
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...ote the opposite of contemporary English language usage as the accepted criterion was of the gender assigned at birth, instead of the gender the person identifies with. (Fajkowska-Stanik 2001).
By the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, social sciences’ constructionist and queer theory inspired approach began to emerge. As gender becomes more widely argued and understood as socially constructed, transgender is more pervasively used an umbrella term. No longer perceived as an abnormality, transgender is now used to house a plethora of gender-variant identities and bodies. Under this consideration, the terms trans women and trans men now indicate the same as contemporary English language usage as the accepted criterion of gender that the person identifies with (Bieńkowska 2008 2010 2012, Dynarski 2011 2012, Kłonkowska 2012 2013 2015a 2016, Kłonkowska, Bojarska, Witek 2015).
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