Transgressing purity: Intersectional negotiations of gender identity in Swedish schools

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The vulnerability of gender nonconforming young people is all too well documented. Arguably, “trans issues” in schools are not restricted to transphobic comments, and need to be analyzed intersectionally. Guided by Lugones’ discussion of the politics of purity read together with the analysis of cisnormativity, this article draws on interviews with Rakel, Robin and Mika, who were part of a larger study with 13 trans and nonbinary young people and young adults in Sweden, the first of its kind in Sweden. It engages their analyses of how schools and teachers express a desire for cisnormative purity in their interactions with gender nonconforming students. Normative whiteness and fat-phobia, as well as adultism and schools’ reluctance in instituting nondiscrimination regulations and policy frameworks into appropriate, affirming and reliable practices, violently affect gender nonconforming young people just as much as schools’ and teachers’ poor knowledge about gender identities. In examining participants’ negotiations with schools, this text reads both cisnormative oppression and gender nonnormative transgression as a condition of a specific moment in the Swedish political landscape marked by the simultaneousness of control and liberation, of imposed cisnormative purity and concurrent negotiation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-111
JournalJournal of LGBT Youth
Issue number1
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Gender Studies

Free keywords

  • gender
  • trans and nonbinary youth
  • cisnormativity
  • purity
  • intersectionality
  • school


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