2004
Volume 21, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 1388-3186
  • E-ISSN: 2352-2437

Abstract

Abstract

Work is one of the main areas of discrimination against trans people, both in Belgium and the European Union as a whole. This fact points to the inseparability of symbolic and material aspects in discrimination and exclusion. In this sense, the creation and justification of differences and hierarchies become essential to understand work discrimination. Although gender analyses of work and the economy abound, these usually rely on unalterable and dichotomous gender categories. In this paper, we argue that, because of the destabilisation of the categories that it entails, ‘trans-inquiring’ is a fruitful critical approach to examine common-sense notions about gender and sexuality at work. Our objective is to identify workers’ discourses about ‘difference’ related to gender issues at work and the implications for the inclusion/exclusion of trans people. Our corpus consisted of the transcriptions of five group interviews carried out with co-workers from five work organisations in Brussels. The analysis was carried out using a discursive psychology approach through the identification of rhetorical devices and interpretative repertoires. Diverse and often contradictory discourses were identified. These contradictory discourses carry out a rhetorical work by setting a distinction between (gender and sexuality) indifference, (useful) diversity, and (unacceptable) difference. This distinction has the function of both expressing an adherence to equality principles while at the same time maintaining hegemonic views on gender and sexuality in the workplace – namely cisgenderism, sexism, and heteronormativity – and denying discrimination against trans people, women, and homosexual people.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse analysis; discrimination; gender; sexuality; trans people; transgender; work
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