Alon Lischinsky's research and teaching


Patterns of labelling and description in porn featuring queer characters

Conference paper: Lischinsky, A. & Gupta, K. (2019, May 2). Eroticising the trans body: Patterns of labelling and description in porn featuring queer characters [Paper presentation]. Lavender Languages & Linguistics 26 Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden

In this paper, we examine the referential and predication strategies used for the representation of body parts in a corpus of approximatelly 26 million words drawn from the “Transexuals and Crossdressers” section of, one of the oldest and largest erotic fiction repositories online.

Pornography has become an increasingly visible part of cultural life over the past 50 years. Visual and written representations of sexual activity, formally banned as obscene, are now commonplace across a range of media, and this “pornification” has given rise to heated discussions about acceptable forms of sexual knowledge, sexual freedom and sexual representation (Atwood, 2010). Of particular interest is the role of pornographic representations in constructing social standards of desirability; a growing literature has examined how bodies are eroticised in both visual and textual pornographic genres (e.g., Motschenbacher, 2010; Richardson, 2010), and the ways in which such representations reflect normative ideas of beauty and gender performance.

A significant part of this work has explored the lasting effect of traditional gender norms and standards, often reproduced in differential practices of reference and description such as the ‘heterosexual structuralism’ that presents female and male bodies as opposite but complementary (Paasonen, 2012:125). Much rarer are analyses of how non-normative bodies, such as those that violate the gender binary, are constructed as desirable.

By examining the representation of body parts in “Transexuals and Crossdressers” erotica, we are able to draw attention to the tensions between mainstream sexualised representations of “trans” and those shared and sustained by trans people themselves.

gender diversity, gender nonconformity, trans, transgender, sissy, trans studies, gender studies, erotica, pornography, online fiction, porn studies, corpus linguistics, corpus stylistics, corpus-assisted discourse analysis