Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Christy Glass


In response to the “Doing Gender” theory as proposed by West and Zimmerman, some scholars have argued that the theory perpetuates gender inequality and leaves no room for social change. These scholars argue that research needs to be directed towards deconstructing the gender system, thereby “undoing gender.” Transgender individuals, who appear to be playing with the system of gender, provide an important conduit through which to examine the possibility of transcending the gender binary. I conducted semi-structured interviews and focus groups with transgender college students to examine the extent to which these individuals are able to overcome the dichotomous gender system. My findings suggest that transgender gender performance varies widely across settings and evolves over time, resulting in both perpetuation and deconstruction of the gender system. Overall, while this research does advance theory considerably by identifying the variability of transgender identity and gender performance, it also provides some tentative support to West and Zimmerman’s arguments of doing gender.


This work made publicly available electronically on September 16, 2011.