In this article, I focus on the childhood and adolescent life experiences
of dansō (female-to-male crossdressers) who work as escorts in contemporary
Japan, and on the process that led to their presentation of self as gendered masculine
in their private and working lives. During their childhood and adolescence,
dansō have to negotiate their identity and self-presentation to adhere to the gendered
pressures of Japanese society. Through an analysis of interviews undertaken
with 14 dansō informants, I explore dansō’s construction of a male identity before
adulthood, highlighting the societal impositions they experienced and the coping
strategies to which they resorted in order to create and maintain a space in which
to express their queer selves.
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