The concept of “Passing” and Transgender Identity: An Analysis of Jackie Kay’s Trumpet

Surinder Kaur

Department of English, S.G.A.D. Govt. College, Tarn Taran, Punjab. Email:

  Volume VII, Number 1, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.25274/bcjms.v7n1.en-v7-01-03


The concept of “Passing” dates back to eighteenth century meaning hiding one’s race or sexuality and passing as the priviledged race or sexuality. Black individuals passed as white in the U.S in order to escape slavery. Hence to “pass” denotes an act of being something you are not in reality. Passing calls for an erasure of one’s true self in the presence of others so “passing” is perceived as a performance. Today, the concept of passing is associated with transgender individuals. It is often reduced down to a “good/bad” dichotomy. Passing as cisgender can ensure safety, an escape from verbal and physical violence and it can reaffirm a transgender individual’s identity. However, passing can be seen as deceptive or hiding on’s true identity. Since passing signifies a performancee, some believe passing for transgender individuals simply means passing as man or woman. This supposition leads to the idea that “passing as cisgender” means a transgender creates a new identity for him/herself and establishes a new set of narratives- a conflicting set of narratives (one told and believed by trans person and another by medical system). The proposed endeavour attempts to analyze Jackie Kay’s novel Trumpet (1998) as it exposes this conflicting set of  “double narrative” of Joss Moody. The novel narrates the life and death of Joss, a trans man, who passes as a cisgender man until his death. Using Foucault’s ideas about life and death, I aim to foreground the metaphorical killing of Joss by other persons in the novel. He is able to pass as man during his life but after his death when he can no longer control his body and medical system has access to his body and power over his body, punishes his identity by revealing its sex as female.

Keywords:  Passing, Cisgender, Transgender, Conflict, Narrative, Identity

We are a Member of Crossref

Crossref Content Registration logo

Call for Papers

Under Continuous Publication Model

We are inviting papers and book reviews on any topic under the following broad disciplines throughout the year. Once the review process of the individual articles is completed, we will publish the articles throughout the year. As per the volume of contents, the articles will make an issue. At the end of the year the issues will be printed as a Volume.

Broad Disciplines:

  • Humanities: Sanskrit, Bengali, English, Music (Papers should be in English only)
  • Social Sciences: History, Archaeology, Geography, Philosophy, Psychology, Political Science, Public Administration, Economics, Education, Sociology, Sports Studies (Physical Education)
  • Management and Commerce: Commerce, Accountancy, Rural Management
  • Pure Sciences: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science
  • Research Methodology
  • Vocational and technical Education

Content Types

We consider the following content types for publication:

  • Critical papers: Full-fledged critical articles (3000-5000 words).
  • Research findings: Reports from researches already under process may be sent as interim report (1000-2000 words).
  • Surveys: Findings from survey as critical report may be submitted (2000-3000 words).
  • Short communications: Scholarly findings or new insights into some area may be sent (1000-1500 words).
  • Conference/seminar papers: Conference/seminar papers (minimum 2000 words) may be submitted provided that the permission is taken from the organizers
  • Review of books not older than 2 years (500+ words)


How to Submit:

Where to Send
Send your submissions to and simultaneously.

Submission Deadline

Since we follow Continuous Publication Model, there is no deadline of submission. Once the review of the submitted articles is complete, we will publish the papers under an issue following four-month unit.


For queries please contact Chief Editor at or Managing Editor at