S.J. Dillon

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Emory U.

Grant number

Gr. 10500

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Dillon, SJ (Emory U.) "Beyond the Binary: Gender Dysphoria in Medical Discourse, Legal Discourse, and Transgender Experience in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A."

Transgender and gender diverse people are garnering more attention within the United States and on a global level than ever before: the 140 pieces of anti-trans legislation proposed in the United States in 2022 make this clear. Dysphoria, generally defined as clinical distress related to a strong desire to be of another gender is considered foundational to transgender experience; yet there is no full-scale research project focused specifically on dysphoria as an embodied experience that theorizes what dysphoria is and how it is contested in different spaces. This diagnosis is understood through standards of care as binary according to notions of manhood and womanhood, and therefore only allows for certain legible notions of distress that accord with that binary. Manifold gender experiences, such as those that are nonbinary or are not embedded in specific cultural notions of gender that make up the standards of care are therefore illegible and untreatable as transgender. My dissertation will provide an ethnographic account of a diverse group of trans communities in contemporary Atlanta, Georgia, and will compare discourses on gender dysphoria in national medical and state-level legal discourses to that ethnographic data.