Yeadon-Lee, Tracey (2014) Exploring narratives of non-binary gender identities in the blogosphere. In: Troubling Narratives: Identity Matters, 19-20 June 2014, Huddersfield. (Unpublished)

While contemporary studies of transgender now acknowledge a diversity of gendered self-identifications within trans communities, narrative research employed in the field has tended to focus largely on transsexual stories. Within this research, a particular concern has been to explore how transsexual people engage with master medical narratives of transsexualism in their identity stories, and the types of counter narratives being produced in contemporary transgender communities. Currently, those with non-binary identities - who identify as either both genders or neither - are gaining more social visibility. For example, Facebook has recently introduced a range of gender options for user profile pages, Australia has introduced the option for 'non-specific' gender on Australian passports and India now legally recognises ‘third gender’ identities. Internet blogs, forums and other social media are typical spaces where the narratives of non-binary identities are being constructed. However, as yet these particular narratives have yet to be explored. This paper begins to address this gap through a discussion of narrative work currently in progress concerning non-binary identity narratives in the blogosphere. The paper outlines a rationale for doing narrative research on blogs, as blogs remain an under used resource within narrative studies, and highlights some of the issues that need to be considered in relation to the research process. Drawing on thematic and dialogic/performative narrative approaches, it then explores some key features of non-binary identity narratives as they appear within a sample of blogs and reflects on how the stories told have implications for 'performance' understandings of identity that remain popular within trans studies.

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