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Trans Awareness Week 2019: A Reading List

November 13–19 is Transgender Awareness Week and November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. Take part in raising the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people with these books that address current issues.

Use coupon TRANSWK30-FM at nyupress.org to get 30% off and free domestic shipping on any of the books below.


The Trans Generation

How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) are Creating a Gender Revolution

By Ann Travers

Based on interviews with transgender kids, ranging in age from 4 to 20, and their parents, and over five years of research in the US and Canada, The Trans Generation offers a rare look into what it is like to grow up as a trans child. From daycare to birthday parties and from the playground to the school bathroom, Travers takes the reader inside the day-to-day realities of trans kids who regularly experience crisis as a result of the restrictive ways in which sex categories regulate their lives and put pressure on them to deny their internal sense of who they are in gendered terms.

As a transgender activist and as an advocate for trans kids, Travers is able to document from first-hand experience the difficulties of growing up trans and the challenges that parents can face. The book shows the incredible time, energy, and love that these parents give to their children, even in the face of, at times, unsupportive communities, schools, courts, health systems, and government laws. Keeping in mind that all trans kids are among the most vulnerable to bullying, violent attacks, self-harm, and suicide, and that those who struggle with poverty, racism, lack of parental support, learning differences, etc, are extremely at risk, Travers offers ways to support all trans kids through policy recommendations and activist interventions.

“Ann Travers’s The Trans Generation is an astounding and essential qualitative study that collects heartfelt, honest anecdotes from a variety of transgender children and their parents.” —Foreword Reviews

 


Transgressed

Intimate Partner Violence in Transgender Lives

By Xavier L. Guadalupe-Diaz

Transgender people face some of the highest rates of violence in the US and around the world, particularly within romantic relationships. In Transgressed, Xavier L. Guadalupe-Diaz offers a ground-breaking examination of intimate partner violence in the lives of transgender people.

Drawing on interviews and written accounts from transgender survivors of intimate partner violence, he sheds much-needed light on the dynamics of abuse that entrap trans partners in violent relationships. Transgressed shows how rigidly gendered discussions of violence have served to marginalize and silence stories of abuse. Ultimately, these stories of survival follow their unique journeys as they navigate—and break free—from the cycle of abuse, providing us with a better understanding of their experiences. An emotionally compelling read, Transgressed offers new ways of understanding the complexities of intimate partner violence through the eyes of transgender survivors.

Transgressed is a brave book. Guadalupe-Diaz takes the necessary, critically important first step in bringing intimate partner violence against transgender people into the research spotlight. But braver still are the transmen and transwomen who dared to share their stories and whose voices will resonate with readers long after they have finished this book.” —Claire M. Renzetti, author of Feminist Criminology

 


Beyond Trans

Does Gender Matter?

By Heath Fogg Davis

Beyond Trans pushes the conversation on gender identity to its limits: questioning the need for gender categories in the first place. Whether on birth certificates or college admissions applications or on bathroom doors, why do we need to mark people and places with sex categories? Do they serve a real purpose or are these places and forms just mechanisms of exclusion? Heath Fogg Davis offers an impassioned call to rethink the usefulness of dividing the world into not just Male and Female categories but even additional categories of Transgender and gender fluid. Davis, himself a transgender man, explores the underlying gender-enforcing policies and customs in American life that have led to transgender bathroom bills, college admissions controversies, and more, arguing that it is necessary for our society to take real steps to challenge the assumption that gender matters.

For anyone in search of pragmatic ways to make our world more inclusive, Davis’ recommendations provide much-needed practical guidance about how to work through this complex issue. A provocative call to action, Beyond Trans pushes us to think how we can work to make America truly inclusive of all people.

Beyond Trans is a necessary voice in current debates about the administration of sex and transgender identity. … Davis’s book offers applicable solutions and applies the knowledge gained from the positionality of trans, intersex, and non-binary viewpoints.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

 


True Sex

The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

By Emily Skidmore

In 1883, Frank Dubois gained national attention for his life in Waupun, Wisconsin. There he was known as a hard-working man, married to a young woman named Gertrude Fuller. What drew national attention to his seemingly unremarkable life was that he was revealed to be anatomically female. Dubois fit so well within the small community that the townspeople only discovered his “true sex” when his former husband and their two children arrived in the town searching in desperation for their departed wife and mother.

In True Sex, Emily Skidmore uncovers the stories of eighteen trans men who lived in the United States between 1876 and 1936. Their lives are surprising and moving, challenging much of what we think we know about queer history. By tracing the narratives surrounding the moments of “discovery” in these communities – from reports in local newspapers to medical journals and beyond – this book challenges the assumption that the full story of modern American sexuality is told by cosmopolitan radicals. Rather, True Sex reveals complex narratives concerning rural geography and community, persecution and tolerance, and how these factors intersect with the history of race, identity and sexuality in America.

“Though an influx of bathroom bills would have us believe that disrupting the gender binary is a new phenomenon, trans people have been here living, assimilating, and creating families that protected them . . . You’ll be engrossed by their lives, and how Skidmore interweaves American history with their decisions.” —Bitch Magazine

 


The Life and Death of Latisha King

A Critical Phenomenology of Transphobia

By Gayle Salamon

The Life and Death of Latisha King examines a single incident, the shooting of 15-year-old Latisha King by 14-year-old Brandon McInerney in their junior high school classroom in Oxnard, California in 2008. The press coverage of the shooting, as well as the criminal trial that followed, referred to Latisha, assigned male at birth, as Larry. Unpacking the consequences of representing the victim as Larry, a gay boy, instead of Latisha, a trans girl, Gayle Salamon draws on the resources of feminist phenomenology to analyze what happened in the school and at the trial that followed. In building on the phenomenological concepts of anonymity and comportment, Salamon considers how gender functions in the social world and the dangers of being denied anonymity as both a particularizing and dehumanizing act.

“With transness facing the threat of possible governmental erasure, I can think of no book more important than Gayle Salamon’s The Life and Death of Latisha King. . . . Salamon brilliantly renders how gendered violence, trans erasure, and what the phenomenologist Edmund Husserl calls ‘retroactive crossing out’ can produce a transphobic imagination.” —The Paris Review

“This beautifully crafted work in slow and critical phenomenology allows us to understand the fatal consequences of skewed gender perception. … This book is a model of careful and thoughtful philosophy and cultural criticism, bringing to life the resources of a phenomenological tradition that can name, describe, and oppose the obliteration of queer and trans lives. This work is as electric as it’s slow, making us think, and teaching us to see.” —Judith Butler, author of Gender Trouble

 


Struggling for Ordinary

Media and Transgender Belonging in Everyday Life

By Andre Cavaicante

From television shows like Orange Is the New Black and Transparent, to the real-life struggles of Caitlyn Jenner splashed across the headlines, transgender visibility is on the rise. But what was it like to live as a transgender person in a media environment before this transgender boom in television? While pop culture imaginations of transgender identity flourish and shape audience’s perceptions of trans identities, what does this new media visibility mean for transgender individuals themselves?

Struggling for Ordinary engagingly answers these questions, offering a snapshot of how transgender individuals made their way toward a sense of ordinary life by integrating available media into their everyday experiences. Drawing on in-depth interviews with transgender communities, Andre Cavalcante offers a richly detailed account of how the media impacts the lives and experiences of transgender individuals.

Struggling for Ordinary makes important contributions to media studies and LGBTQ scholarship. As part of media studies, reception studies strives to see audiences as individuals rather than nameless monoliths, and Cavalcante’s research takes care to present specific, contextualized perspectives.” —Popmatters


Growing Up Queer

Kids and the Remaking of LGBTQ Identity

By Mary Robertson

LGBTQ kids reveal what it’s like to be young and queer today

Growing Up Queer explores the changing ways that young people are now becoming LGBT-identified in the US. Through interviews and three years of ethnographic research at an LGBTQ youth drop-in center, Mary Robertson focuses on the voices and stories of youths themselves in order to show how young people understand their sexual and gender identities, their interest in queer media, and the role that family plays in their lives.

This groundbreaking and timely consideration of queer identity demonstrates how sexual and gender identities are formed through complicated, ambivalent processes as opposed to being natural characteristics that one is born with. By showing how society accepts some kinds of LGBTQ-identified people while rejecting others, Growing Up Queer provides evidence of queerness as a site of social inequality. The book moves beyond an oversimplified examination of teenage sexuality and shows, through the voices of young people themselves, the exciting yet complicated terrain of queer adolescence.

“Illuminating…Robertson examine[s] how youth today form queer identities.This accessibly written inquiry will be of interest to queer readers, sociologists, and gender studies enthusiasts alike.” —Publishers Weekly

 


In a Queer Time and Place

Transgender Bodies, Subculture Lives

By J. Jack Halberstam

In a Queer Time and Place opens with a probing analysis of the life and death of Brandon Teena, a young transgender man who was brutally murdered in small-town Nebraska. After looking at mainstream representations of the transgender body as exhibited in the media frenzy surrounding this highly visible case and the Oscar-winning film based on Brandon’s story, Boys Don’t Cry, Halberstam turns her attention to the cultural and artistic production of queers themselves. She examines the “transgender gaze,” as rendered in small art-house films like By Hook or By Crook, as well as figurations of ambiguous embodiment in the art of Del LaGrace Volcano, Jenny Saville, Eva Hesse, Shirin Neshat, and others. She then exposes the influence of lesbian drag king cultures upon hetero-male comic films, such as Austin Powers and The Full Monty, and, finally, points to dyke subcultures as one site for the development of queer counterpublics and queer temporalities.

Considering the sudden visibility of the transgender body in the early twenty-first century against the backdrop of changing conceptions of space and time, In a Queer Time and Place is the first full-length study of transgender representations in art, fiction, film, video, and music. This pioneering book offers both a jumping off point for future analysis of transgenderism and an important new way to understand cultural constructions of time and place.

“This small seductive book pours warmth as Halberstam confesses and connects movements of pop culture and high art to a deeper understanding of the potentials of the body. She includes us in her world and its privileged understanding of her subject….In a Queer Time displays Halberstams sophisticated understanding of contemporary culture in a plain and engaging tone.” —Popmatters

 


 

Use coupon TRANSWK30-FM at nyupress.org to get 30% off and free domestic shipping on any of the books above!

Feature image from GLAAD