Home Institution

Muhlenberg College

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


This study is an autoethnographic account of the extent to which liminal identity, specifically genderqueerness, are continuously developed in the city of Amsterdam. Transgender identity is a permanently liminal personhood, which is influenced by both potentially liminal periods of time and the liminality of spaces in which the subject lives. At the time of this study, my genderqueerness was situated in the deeply liminal city of Amsterdam for a transient, yet semi-permanent, length of time; thus, this is a study of the temporal and spatial impacts that the Dutch context has had on my personhood. Five locations in the city were identified for their liminal characteristics— threshold-like or in-between states, paradoxical or puzzling functions, sites of transition— and were analyzed for the ways in which the spaces inform my identity. After completing a series of objective observations, I surveyed my mental and physical responses to the spaces, to form a holistic view of both the places and their effects on me as a genderqueer researcher. The data generated from spatial analysis was then contextualized in a framework of liminality study and transgender identity scholarship, specifically handling language of the monster and the cyborg as strategies for identity expression. Rather than displaying my findings in academic prose, they are found in the autoethnographic poetry collection E Minor . Poetry was chosen as the primary analytical tool in order to best make implicit liminality explicit, as well as to capture the emotional component of identity development as it is influenced by compounding liminalities.


Dutch Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Poetry | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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