Sex changes: the politics of transgenderism
Ground-breaking work on gender transgression by one of the most provocative lesbian authors in the U.S.
-- Transgenderism is a hot subject, with books by Kate Bornstein, Leslie Feinberg, and others garnering national attention
This work springs from my own profound discomfort with gender. As a small child, I put Ken in Barbie's formal, tied him up, and stuck him back in the box. He had been kidnapped, I decided. Barbie got to wear Ken's suit and had a series of mad adventures trying to rescue Ken with her sidekick, a troll doll with bright green hair".
So begins Pat Califia's honest, meticulously researched analysis of the contemporary history of transsexuality. Based on in-depth interviews with gender transgressors who "opened their lives, minds, hearts, and bedroom to the gaze of strangers", this book combines a well-thought-out chronology with Pat Califia's hallmark candor and insight. "My lesbianism is largely a product of my profound emotional and erotic involvement with other women. But it was also a strategy for reducing gender dysphoria, part of a search for a place where I could be more of a man, or at least a different sort of woman".
Writing about both male-to-female and female-to-male transsexuals, Califia examines the lives of early transgender pioneers like Christine Jorgenson, Jan Morris, and Mark Rees; partners of transgendered people such as Minnie Bruce Pratt; and contemporary transgender activists, including Leslie Feinberg and Kate Bornstein.
Califia scrutinizes feminist resistance to transsexuals occupying women's space and the Christian Right's backlash against transsexuals. Finally, the book explores the future of gender. Califia's first book oforiginal material in four years, Sex Changes includes an extensive bibliography and resource list.
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