“Women's Work”? Women Partners of Transgender Men Doing Housework and Emotion Work


  • This article was edited by Jay Teachman.

Purdue University North Central, Department of Social Sciences, Schwarz Hall 30G, 1401 S US Hwy. 421, Westville, IN 46391 (cpfeffer@pnc.edu).


Despite increasing family studies research on same-sex cohabiters and families, the literature is virtually devoid of transgender and transsexual families. To bridge this gap, I present qualitative research narratives on household labor and emotion work from 50 women partners of transgender and transsexual men. Contrary to much literature on “same-sex” couples, the division of household labor and emotion work within these contemporary families cannot simply be described as egalitarian. Further, although the forms of emotion work and “gender strategies,”“family myths,” and “accounts” with which women partners of trans men engage resonate with those from women in (non-trans) heterosexual and lesbian couples, they are also distinct, highlighting tensions among personal agency, politics, and structural inequalities in family life.