Nazgol Afsahi

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies


Dr. Amanda Grzyb


Employing a Foucauldian discourse analysis, this thesis examines knowledge produced about transsexuality and sex reassignment surgery (SRS) through the fields of medical, legal and news texts. I explore key shifts in Western feminist, queer and trans approaches to sex/gender and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual o f Mental Disorders’ pathologization of gender-variance in the Gender Identity Disorder diagnosis. I also undertake a case study of trans marriages prior to Bill C-38, and the Ontario Vital Statistics Act’s reliance on medical proof in change of sex designation requests. Finally, I analyze seventy-seven texts from The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, National Post and Toronto Sun spanning the 11-years (1998-2008) during which SRS was not funded in Ontario. The news coverage employs expert knowledge in legitimizing and de- legitimizing transsexuality and SRS. Overall, all three fields rely on cisnormative patterns of knowledge production and reflect the privilege granted to cissexuals in Canadian society.



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