EXPLORING A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CROSS-DRESSING AND TRANSSEXUALS RESEARCH PROPOSAL PAPER
The working title of the research is drafted as:
EXPLORING A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CROSS-DRESSING AND TRANSSEXUALS
The American Heritage Dictionary defines cross-dressing as the act of wearing clothing that is commonly associated another gender within a particular society. Cross-dressing is a behaviour that is practiced to counter different set of norms, views, guidelines and laws that define what type of clothing is more appropriate for each gender. Typically viewed as transgender behaviour, cross-dressing does not necessarily indicate transgender identity or having a gender different from that assigned at birth. Cross-dressers fall under the umbrella of transgender or a term for people who do not follow typical accepted gender roles. Transsexualism is incorporated within this term.
Transsexualism on the other hand refers to a condition whereby a person identifies with a physical sex that was different from the one they were born with. The definition itself of the term is ambiguous and one of the frequently debated issue. The most acceptable definition though is that of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) as “the desire to love and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by a wish to make his or her body as congruent as possible with the preferred sex by means of surgery and hormone treatment.”
While cross-dressing is often confused with transsexualism, the latter is not considered to be a former. Unlike cross-dressers who addressed themselves as males with a touch of femininity, transsexuals are individuals who are psychologically a member of one sex and physiologically a member of the opposite sex. Wolman and Money claim that though transsexualism is corroborative, it is to be expected that the cross-dressing could be a symptom of transsexualism (1980, p. 279).
The reason for choosing this topic is to focus and acquire deeper knowledge on social phenomenon that urgently calls for necessary clarifications and further study. Even the transgenders themselves are facing different challenges from various elements in the society while also even they do not have concrete definitions of what they really are and what they genuinely composed of. This research could significantly contribute to such.
3.0 Research Aims and Objectives
The general aim of this research is to investigate cross-dressing and transsexualism and to explore the connection between the two. To accomplish this purpose, this study will seek to achieve the following objectives:
ü To investigate cross-dressing and transsexualism as a sexual phenomena
ü To explore the determinants of being cross-dressers and identify the degree of their influence towards becoming transsexuals
ü To distinguish various types of cross-dressers and determine which of them would likely to result in transsexualism
ü To examine the reasons and the causes of cross-dressing and then identify indicators which of them would lead to transsexualism
4.0 Research Questions
The research will intentionally answer the key question which is: How cross-dressing relates to transsexualism? In lieu with this, the research will attempt at responding to the following specific questions:
1) What are the differences between a cross-dresser and a transsexual in terms of behavior, attitude, values and belief? Are there any similarities? What are those?
2) How cross-dressing is categorized? What are the bases of categorization?
3) How cross-dressers determine that they are indeed cross-dressers? What about transsexuals?
4) Is various levels of self-acceptance has to do with being cross-dressers or being transsexuals? In what specific way?
5) What are the probable factors or influence does cross-dressing could have in transsexualism?
6) Could cross-dressing and transsexualism be reconciled? Say can cross-dressing be a ‘prerequisite’ to transsexualism? Why and why not?
According to Saunders (2003), research perspectives usually consist of three parts, the perspective of the positivist, interpretivist and the realist approaches. The research philosophy that is adopted by me for this research is interpretivism. Interpretivism refers to exploration of the ‘details of the situation, to understand the reality or perhaps a reality working behind them. From the interpretivist perception, it is necessary to explore the subjective meanings motivating people’s actions in order to understand their actions. In other words, the aim of the interpretivist is to understand situations and give plausible and acceptable accounts of them (Varey, Wood-Harper & Wood, 2002).
For this research, I have chosen the survey strategy whereby questionnaires and semi-structured interviews will be utilized as well as structured observation. Survey strategy will enable the researcher to control the process while also using appropriate amount of samples. Questionnaires will be used in order to investigate the fundamentals of cross-dressing and transsexualism experiences of the respondents. There will be open-ended, probing and hypothetical questions. Semi-structured interviews will be used to give me the flexibility to dig deeper on the issues that may arise.
The research strategy I am going to adapt for the study is both qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative because it will try to find and build theories that will explain the relationship of one variable with another variable through qualitative elements in research. Through this method, qualitative elements that do not have standard measures such as behavior, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs within the organizational domain will be analyzed. I want to place myself in the position wherein I could provide new orders of thinking applicable to incumbent and posterity. The qualitative research refers to that discipline of inquiry on different subject matters and phenomenon. Qualitative research provides an in-depth understanding of human behaviours as well as the reasons that guides such behaviours. Quantitative because the research aims at providing statistical summary of the responses.
Both primary and secondary data collection method will be used. Primary data will be collected through surveys and interviews whereas secondary data will be through literature reviews. The sources of primary will be the sample while the secondary data will come from selection of books, journals, magazines and newspapers, theses and related case studies, official statistics and the Internet databases. Statistical treatment of data will be used as well and also the compilation of relevant themes and phrases that would come from different literatures.
Probability or representative sampling technique will be used. The sample for questionnaires will be chosen by simple random sampling in order to help to choose the most appropriate sample. I as the researcher will appeal to different LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexual and transsexual) communities. As planned, 500 questionnaires will be sent out.
The research may use different terms that may not be typically used and may not be understand by the layman users. To reconcile, I will include a very brief discussions of such and a glossary will be provided in the actual research. Technicality inherent Limitations inherent in this kind of research would include susceptibility from the researcher’s subjectivities in the context of the research study. I would tend to think that the academia has adequately address social issues and problems in the business setting, but this may not be the case. I would have to remain vigilant in interpreting data in this research. Further, the research does not intend to interpret social phenomena but only those that are affecting the business environment.
7.0 Ethical Considerations
The research will abide by the regulations outlined in the University ethics handbook. As such, ethics approval will be sought for all questionnaires and interview questions. Relevant documentations will be accomplished prior to actual conduct of the research.
There are ethical considerations in interviewing cross-dressers and transsexuals during the questionnaire process. Thought the questionnaires would contain demographic informations on the first part, I will respect the confidentiality of any information obtained from them. In addition, the respondents of the survey will be able to choose whether to identify themselves or stay anonymous.
Since the research includes primary data, Data Protection Act will be applied. Further, I will establish with the data providers the use of my data and will ask their permission regarding the publication of the informations. I will ensure that data are kept confidentially. Prior to sending out questionnaires and doing interviews, I will check them fist with the supervisor. And even before conducting the actual interview, I will ensure written consent from the interviewees.
Cross-Dress. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed., Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.
Cross-Dressing Guide – Frequently Asked Questions, retrieved on 22 April 2008 from http://www.crossdressingguide.com/faq.html.
Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2003) Research Methods for Business Students (3rd Ed.), London, Prentice Hall.
Transsexualism. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD).
Varey, R. J.; Wood-Harper, T. & Wood, B. (2002): A Theoretical Review of Management and Information Systems Using a Critical Communications Theory. Journal of Information Technology vol. 17, pp. 229 – 239.
Wolman, B B & Money, J 1980, Handbook of Human Sexuality. Prentice Hall.
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