Embodying gender: transgender body/subject formations in Taiwan
Josephine HO


“A soul trapped in the wrong body” is a common description employed by trans subjects to explain their unusual condition. While useful in illustrating the often contradictory feelings, perceptions, self-images, and social expectations that trans subjects have to negotiate as they move through social space; the body-soul imagery also obscures the manifold differences in endowment and resources among trans subjects that may limit their embodiment. Important aspects of contemporary socio-cultural culture also add to the complexities of trans existence or even seriously hamper the logistics of their body/identity-construction. The present paper demonstrates such specificities of Taiwanese transgender existence in relation to body- and subject-formations, in hope to not only shed light on the actualities of trans efforts toward self-fashioning, but also illuminate the increasing entanglement between trans self-construction and the evolving gender culture that saturates it.

Author’s biography
Josephine Chuen-Juei Ho 何春蕤 has been writing both extensively and provocatively to open up new discursive space for gender/sexuality issues. Her books, all written in Chinese as timely interventions into local gender/sexuality politics, include The Gallant Woman--Feminism and Sexual Emancipation 豪爽女人 (1994), Gendered Nations--Sexuality, Capital and Culture 不同國女人 (1994), Sexual Moods: A Therapeutic and Liberatory Report on Female Sexuality性心情 (1996), Radical Sexuality Education: Gender/Sexuality Education for the "New Generation" 性/別校園 (1998), and The Admirable/Amorous Woman 好色女人 (1998). She then turned to the editing of a number of ground-breaking anthologies of local gender/sexuality research as well as the organization of international conferences on cutting-edge gender/sexuality topics. Describing herself as a feminist sex radical, she now serves as Chair of the English Department and the Coordinator for the Center for the Study of Sexualities at National Central University 中央大學性/別研究室, Taiwan, well-known for both its activism and its intellectual stamina. Website at http://sex.ncu.edu.tw.