Ever wonder what everyone else is reading?
Recently a reader sent the following document listing recommended books to read (composed and commented on by the reader) and I quickly asked if I could share with the rest of you. If the creator of this list agrees, I will share their contact info with you as a resource. Many thanks & enjoy… Jen
The books that help people understand:
The Transgender Child, Sephanie A. Brill and Rachel Pepper.
I’m including this even though you’ve read it, because it’s just too important to leave off the list. This book is about the future. It’s changing the present, and helping us leave the painful legacy of the past behind, one child at a time, and one family at a time. It saves lives. All parents of trans kids and teens should have multiple copies on hand.
True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism–For Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals, Brown and Rounsley
This book is the analogue to The Transgender Child for adults. It’s from 2003 helps further the understanding trans people. It’s easy to read and humanizes the struggles of trans people. It’s become a classic.
The best book for grounding academic ideas in reality:
Whipping Girl, Julie Serano
Whipping Girl is absolutely amazing. It transcends all the other books that have come before and it fundamentally changes the conversation. She’s the one who brought the concept of cis privilege out trans-feminism academic writing and made it accessible to people in the trans community.
The idea of cis is very simple but really hasn’t even filtered through the whole of the trans community yet. Cis is a Latin prefix used all the time in science like hetero, homo, and trans. It means: on this side or same side as. Cis is basically the word that trans people can use to describe someone who isn’t trans. The idea of cis is probably the best thing to happen to trans people well since Christine Jorgenson said hello world.
How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States, Joanne Meyerowitz
This book is basically the only history of Transsexuality as a modern phenomenon out there. It’s a good thing that it’s so well written, and amazingly insightful. It starts with with Richard von Kraft-Ebing at the end of the 19th century and then moves onto Magnus Hirschfeld’s pioneering work and continues up to the present day. Meyerowitz really delves into the story of Christine Jorgenson, and her story means so much more after you’ve read it.
TRANSGENDER WARRIORS: Making History From Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman, Leslie Feinberg
Transgender Warriors is the book you turn to when ask “Where did trans people come from?” It’s pretty awesome. So many things we think we know are retold through a lens of understanding gender expression. Feinberg finds all sorts of amazing examples of gender expression all through out human history.
Queer Theory, and Transgender Politics:
Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us
My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely
Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws
Kate Bornstein along with Riki Wilchins popularized the idea of queering gender, and the end of gender in the 1990′s. They coined the pronouns ze and hir and there wouldn’t be genderqueer without them.
Her books are some of the best ones you could ever find if you’re a trans or gender variant person. My Gender Workbook is a diary with writing exercises and quizzes. If Seventeen magazine wrote a book for young trans women it would look a lot like My Gender Workbook. It was big for me back when I started transition, and really helpful in accepting my truth and being able to embrace my femininity as a positive thing, not something to be punished for. It’s very pink and cute. Her newest book is a lot of fun too.
Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws is a fun read if you like shocking and subversive stuff and a life saving tool if you’re a teen thinking about suicide. The book is meant to get the attention of severely depressed teens. They need hope and it gives them hope. That’s a beautiful thing.
Riki Anne Wilchins:
Queer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer
Read My Lips: Sexual Subversion and the End of Gender
Transsexual Menace was the transgender counter part to organizations like ACT-UP (a organization in the HIV/AIDS movement, which is famous for it’s protests in the 80’s), Queer Nation, and the Lesbian Avengers. It was all about affecting change through “in your face” activism and protest. They are famous for shouting down the keynote speaker at the NOW and at the 25th anniversary of Stonewall. They started Camp Trans too after the Michigan Women’s Music Festival* instituted their “Womyn born Womyn” only policy excluding trans women.
Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
Judith Butler is the mother of queer theory. Gender Trouble is the foundation text for queer theory. It is canonical book in post-modern philosophy. At this point probably thousands of graduate thesis’s have been written about it. Without Judith Butler, there would be no queer as we know it. With no Butler then there’s no queer theory, and no gender theory. She takes Foucault, Levi-Strauss, Lacan, Freud, and mixes it up into a strange brew and calls it queer theory.