Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global and Sociocultural Studies

First Advisor's Name

Dr. Percy Hintzen

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Heather Russell

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Matthew Marr

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Dr. Guillermo Grenier

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


social and cultural anthropology

Date of Defense



This dissertation examines the cultural politics of stigma, discrimination, and gender-based violence encountered by persons becoming male-to-female (MtF) transgenders in postcolonial Jamaica. The issue of stigma, discrimination, and gender-based violence has been the subject of considerable research in the Global North but has failed to adequately address institutional structures and cultural practices that continue to produce postcolonial realities in the Global South. Transphobic violence in Jamaica is captured by a 2014 Human Rights Watch report detailing the murder of 16-year-old Dwayne Jones, who was engaging in processes of becoming a male-to-female transgender. While attending a dance party attired in women’s clothing, Jones was beaten, chopped, shot, and her/his body run over with a car after it was discovered that she/he was not biologically female. Thus, the research analyzes and examines how persons becoming MtF transgenders are violated by cultural practices and institutional structures that are embedded in postcolonial realities of stigma, discrimination, and gender-based violence (transphobic violence). Drawing on theoretical approaches to queer and transgender studies, structural stigma, postcolonial heteropatriarchy, spatial practice, and precarity, the research presents an ethnography that exposes everyday stigma, discrimination, and gender-based violence experienced by persons becoming MtF transgenders.





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