American masculinity is being critiqued, questioned, and reinterpreted for a new era. In Men in Place: Trans Masculinity, Race, and Sexuality in America
(University of Minnesota Press, 2019), Miriam J. Abelson
makes an original contribution to this conversation through in-depth interviews with trans men in the U.S. West, Southeast, and Midwest, showing how the places and spaces men inhabit are fundamental to their experiences of race, sexuality, and gender.
In this interview, Dr. Abelson and I discuss the various types of masculinity she identified in her study, such as hypermasculine men, regular guys, and men who seek to embody what Abelson calls “Golidlocks masculinity.” Additionally, we discuss how race and space affect expressions and embodiment of masculinity. For example, trans men in rural spaces were more likely to embody a redneck masculinity. On the other hand, urban trans men were more likely to embody a masculinity of the “urban thug.” Lastly, Abelson explains the significance of health care settings and public bathroom as spaces for upholding the gender binary and potential instances of violence. I recommend this book for students, professors, and anyone else interested in gender, sexuality, race, and studies of place.
Dr. Miriam Abelson (@AbelsonDr) is an Associate Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Portland State University.
Krystina Millar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Her research interests include gender, sociology of the body, and sexuality. You can find her on Twitter at @KrystinaMillar.