Transness : an urban phenomenon in Istanbul
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This study is about "transness" in contemporary Istanbul. As this thesis demonstrates, transness is an urban phenomenon, an identity specific to time and space. In Istanbul, it is a subculture, defined by sex, gender, sexuality, class, and ethnicity. "Transness: An Urban Phenomenon in Istanbul" situates itself as part of a conversation about marginal subcultures in Gender Studies, Queer Theory, and especially Transgender Studies. This study fills two gaps: the temporal gap between the early Turkish scholarship on trans issues and the contemporary trans world of Istanbul; and the conceptual gap between trans words -- transvestite, transsexual, and transgender -- and trans identities in Istanbul. Furthermore, this study brings the current issues and discussions of US-based queer scholarship into the Turkish context and does so by discussing recent Turkish examples of media representations ranging from a documentary to a movie, and to a newspaper article; and by analyzing certain drag performances. All these examples discussed in this work exemplify the temporality and spatiality of transness, its relation to heteronormativity, and its publicness as a subculture. As is suggested by my examples, transness is 'out-of-time' and 'out-of-place,' always already public, and, as a performance, it asserts individual identity. Moreover, it is also always a public performance. All the examples point to the complex relationship between queerness and transness, and claim that the queerness of transness is always contextual. Combining the detailed analysis of these examples with the ethnographic work on Istanbul's trans world, "Transness: An Urban Phenomenon in Istanbul" provides answers to the following questions: "What is transness?" "What is the impact time and space have on transness within the urban structure of Istanbul?" "What is the relationship between dominant normativity and transness?" Finally, this MA thesis offers new perspectives and opens new paths for further research on the topic intended to help imagining new futures for trans folk in Istanbul.