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Rejecting, reframing, and reintroducing: trans people's strategic engagement with the medicalisation of gender dysphoria

Sociology of Health & Illness

Published online on


--- - |2 Abstract This article uses ethnographic methods to explore how transgender people engage the medicalisation of transgender experience in a U.S. context under the purview of the American Psychiatric Association. Building on sociological literature related to medicalisation, this paper argues that the lived experience of medicalisation is a non‐linear, complex process whereby individual engagement with medical authority is both empowering and constraining in the lives of trans people. Inductive qualitative analysis of 158 hours of participant observation and 33 in‐depth interviews with members of a transgender community organisation revealed that transgender individuals (i) reject a medical frame for gender dysphoria, (ii) embrace and stress the importance of gender‐affirming medical technologies for individual identity development and social interaction and (iii) strategically reintroduce medical logics and embrace medical authority in order to facilitate medical and social recognition, validation and acceptance. - 'Sociology of Health &Illness, EarlyView. '