Embodying the Fat/Trans Intersection

White, F.R. 2019. Embodying the Fat/Trans Intersection. in: Thickening Fat: Fat Bodies, Intersectionality, and Social Justice London Routledge. pp. 110-121

Chapter titleEmbodying the Fat/Trans Intersection
AuthorsWhite, F.R.
Abstract

This chapter explores how the fat/trans intersection is embodied with the aim of highlighting some of the assumptions underpinning existing approaches to gender within Fat Studies, and more broadly to ask what the role of fat is in producing gendered embodiment at all. It is not that the intersection of fat and gender has never been considered within Fat Studies, indeed – in the form of cis-female experiences of (hetero)patriarchal culture – gender has been central to fat scholarship. However, approaching the intersection of fat and gender through trans, non-binary and genderqueer people’s experiences opens up new ways of unpicking the assumed relationships between bodies and selves that underpin much of the critical discourse around fatness.

Drawing on qualitative interview data from a small study of UK-based trans and non-binary participants the chapter analyses the invisibility of those who are fat and trans within both fat activism and in trans spheres. However, the analysis shows that the intersection of fat and trans can be thought of as more than merely the assertion that a fat body can be trans, or a trans body can be fat, and instead considers this “intersection” not as one where two previously existing identities “fat” and “transgender” cross, but the points at which those identities emerge simultaneously in/as particular types of embodiment. The interview data indicates that fat/trans folk position fatness as both an obstacle to and a resource in their (desired) gendered embodiment. This not only opens up new ways of thinking about the status of weight change within Fat Studies, but also brings into relief the role fat plays in both producing and undermining binary gender.

Keywordsembodiment
transgender
non-binary gender
fat studies
Book titleThickening Fat: Fat Bodies, Intersectionality, and Social Justice
Page range110-121
Year2019
PublisherRoutledge
Publication dates
Published16 Sep 2019
Place of publicationLondon
ISBN9781138580039
9781138580022
9780429507540
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.4324/9780429507540-10

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