How Sex Changed

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Harvard University Press, Jun 30, 2009 - Social Science - 393 pages
2 Reviews

"How Sex Changed" is a fascinating social, cultural, and medical history of transsexuality in the United States. Joanne Meyerowitz tells a powerful human story about people who had a deep and unshakable desire to transform their bodily sex. In the last century when many challenged the social categories and hierarchies of race, class, and gender, transsexuals questioned biological sex itself, the category that seemed most fundamental and fixed of all.

From early twentieth-century sex experiments in Europe, to the saga of Christine Jorgensen, whose sex-change surgery made headlines in 1952, to today's growing transgender movement, Meyerowitz gives us the first serious history of transsexuality. She focuses on the stories of transsexual men and women themselves, as well as a large supporting cast of doctors, scientists, journalists, lawyers, judges, feminists, and gay liberationists, as they debated the big questions of medical ethics, nature versus nurture, self and society, and the scope of human rights.

In this story of transsexuality, Meyerowitz shows how new definitions of sex circulated in popular culture, science, medicine, and the law, and she elucidates the tidal shifts in our social, moral, and medical beliefs over the twentieth century, away from sex as an evident biological certainty and toward an understanding of sex as something malleable and complex. "How Sex Changed" is an intimate history that illuminates the very changes that shape our understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality today.

 

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How sex changed: a history of transsexuality in the United States

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Christine Jorgenson wasn't the first person to undergo sex-change surgery, but her media-savvy personality and glamorous looks made her a household name in the 1950s. Historian Meyerowitz chronicles ... Read full review

Review: How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States

User Review  - Jenine - Goodreads

This was a very interesting book that really drew me in and opened my eyes to the history of transexuals. I just found it to be about 50 pages too long. Although incredibly interesting I felt like I was slogging through by the end. Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1 SEX CHANGE
2 EXGI BECOMES BLONDE BEAUTY
3 FROM SEX TO GENDER
4 A FIERCE AND DEMANDING DRIVE
Illustrations follow page 140
5 SEXUAL REVOLUTIONS
6 THE LIBERAL MOMENT
7 THE NEXT GENERATION
ABBREVIATIONS
NOTES
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ILLUSTRATION CREDITS
INDEX
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Joanne Meyerowitz is Professor of History at Indiana University and Editor of the Journal of American History.

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