Working at gender? An autoethnography

Saoirse Caitlin O'Shea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this essay I wish to explore the idea of work in relation to the arguments that trans folk ‘[claim] an illegitimate sex/gender status” in order to ‘pass” whilst cisgender people are just ‘doing gender rather than passing” it. Such a denaturalisation of our sex/gender implicitly requires that we both work at passing and that passing is our very work; a work that we are driven to, can never fulfill and that indelibly inscribes us as duplicitous, inauthentic, unnatural and monstrous. (I pronominally include myself because I am a non-binary trans person). As a non-binary person my work is to manage the erasure of my gender in favour of a binary choice or be undocumented and so be excluded from legal, paid employment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1438-1449
Number of pages12
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number6
Early online date23 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


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