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Norwood, K. (2012). Transitioning meanings?


On Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM, Kristen Norwood <> wrote:
Dear Susan and Laura,
You might not remember me, but a few years ago when I was a graduate student (at the University of Iowa) I asked your permissions to collect data from forums on your websites in order to conduct research about how family and romantic partners talked about the experience of having a transgender or transsexual loved one. You were both gracious enough to grant me permission, and Susan, you wanted me to share the research with your site's members once it was published. I'm writing to do that now.
I'm incredibly sorry about the delay - after a significant period of time wherein I presented the work at conferences, revised it, and submitted it to journals, it was accepted. Sadly, from that point, it was more than 2 years before it actually appeared in print. Now, the work is finally published in the Journal of Family Communication. Here's the citation and abstract:
Norwood, K. (2012). Transitioning meanings? Family members’ communicative struggles surrounding
transgender identity, Journal of Family Communication, 12(1), 75-92.
With the growing number of transgender individuals coming forward, it is important that scholars turn attention to the experiences of these identities and transitions for transgender persons and their families. The present study used a relational dialectics approach to analyze communication of family members (both transgender and not) about transgender identity and transition via online postings to discussion forums. Results showed three sites of struggle present for family members and partners, as well as transgender persons: Presence vs. Absence, Sameness vs. Difference, and Self vs. Other. The presence-absence and sameness-difference struggles centered on family members’ and partners’ experiences with grief surrounding the transgender person’s transition process and the self-other struggle was centered on the issue of support. The tensions illustrated in the data, and especially the experience of loss, indicate that family members and spouses/partners of transgender persons may struggle with meaning-making surrounding a transition in sex and/or gender identity. This struggle over meaning suggests that sex and gender are fundamental to the ways in which we conceptualize and interact with relational partners and that when they change, we may conceptualize and relate to partners/relatives differently.
Because the journal owns the copyright, their version of the paper cannot be posted directly on your websites (I have a request in to get a waiver, but I doubt I will be granted this). But, I thought you might want to provide your members with the citation and maybe the abstract as well as my email address - that way, if they are interested in reading the paper they can email me and I'll send them an "unofficial" copy of it. Your websites are cited in the paper as the source for the data (you should know that I requested an acknowledgement/thank of and to both of you to be included in the footnote - for some reason, the editorial assistant failed to include this.)
Since the time I did this study, I have done more research on transgender issues. For my doctoral dissertation I focused on family and romantic partners' experience with transgender identity and transition (specifically their experiences of grief and loss related to transition). I interviewed mothers, fathers, daughters, partners/spouses, sisters, and brothers of trans-identified people. One paper from that dissertation has been accepted for publication in Communication Monographs (it should be published within the year) and another as been submitted to the Journal of GLBT Family Studies. I also have had an analysis of the famous image of Thomas Beatie accepted for publication in an edited book called A Queer Gaze: Media and the Global LGBT Community. If you would like me to keep you updated on the status of these publications (if you think your membership might be interested in them), please let me know and I will do so.
I hope you are both doing very well. I thank you again for your support of my research.

Kristen Norwood, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Office of the Vice President, Frost Campus
St. Louis University
313 Xavier Hall
St. Louis, MO 63103
Phone: 314-977-3342


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