The Substance of Borders: Transgender Politics, Mobility, and U.S. State Regulation of Testosterone

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Abstract

This article analyzes the US congressional hearings leading up to the 1990 classification of testosterone as a controlled substance and the gendered, racial, and national stakes underlying debates about hormone circulation. The move to regulate synthetic testosterone reveals broader cultural anxieties about mobility at several levels: sex hormones' status as fluctuating chemicals in the body; their ability to alter the body and thus overtly demonstrate the fluidity of sex and gender categories; the shifting medicolegal investments in linking hormones with normative sexual, racial, and national characteristics; and the flow of hormones across national borders through production and consumption. Bringing a transgender studies critique to bear on state practices and discourses that may appear marginal to the field, I suggest that although the hearings never directly reference the category of transgender, they offer important insight into the biopolitical and geopolitical contexts through which gendered subjects are produced and maintained.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-78
Number of pages22
JournalGLQ
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies

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