Home Institution

Washington University in St. Louis

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


This research explores the complex relationships between transgender women and their bodies, their intimate relationships, their identities, and the pressure to pass. I begin by defining the term transgender, as well as discuss the history of transgender issues in the Netherlands. Several works by both Dutch and non-Dutch authors that focus on the transgender identity are reviewed and related to this study. The theories postulated by Julia Serrano, Matthew Sycamore Bernstein, Linda Nicholson and Judith Butler are critical to the analysis of personal interviews conducted by the researcher with five Dutch transgender women. Through these interviews several themes arise, including the importance of the body, womanhood and femininity, and the pressure to pass. The researcher argues that transgender women confirm their self identities through transforming their bodies, whether physiologically or superficially (i.e. clothing, mannerisms, etc.) and through conforming to the ideals of femininity. In the future, similar studies should be conducted with female-tomale transgender men and explore the intersections of gender with race, class, and generational differences.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies