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Transgender History

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  743 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Covering American transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today, Transgender History takes a chronological approach to the subject of transgender history, with each chapter covering major movements, writings, and events. Chapters cover the transsexual and transvestite communities in the years following World War II; trans radicalism and social change, which s ...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published January 7th 2009 by Seal Press (CA) (first published May 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,558)
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Zanna
I wasn't going to comment on this book at all, since I was already familiar with most of the material from elsewhere. I very much enjoyed reading it as a for-us (and our friends) by-us piece of loving activism excavating and preserving a body of stories in danger of being lost. As such it's a worthy journalistic project well executed.

On reflection though, my familiarity with trans histories made me insensitive to the urgency of that project. I really hope general readers pick this up, because tr
...more
Monique
Really good. I learnt a lot and it was helpful to read it in conjunction with Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood and the Politics of Violence. While this book is specifically about transgender history rather than the LGBT movement in general it talks about many of the same organisations that have been involved in LGBT activism during the last 100 years. My main criticism of Safe Space was that it often didn't spend a lot of time talking about trans women and their relationships to these organisations ...more
Red
A history of trans people that's actually mostly about trans people?? Perposterous! Contextualizing trans history within the framework of broader human history? Now you've gone too far, Susan Stryker. Far too far.
Sara Jaye
This book is not exactly what I was expecting, which was both a good and a bad thing. I went into it thinking it would be a fairly general overview of trans history in the united states; what it is, is actually a somewhat more idiosyncratic history of trans social justice activism in the united states. on the plus side: i thought such a brief book would cover mostly basic info that was already familiar to me, but instead i got a wealth of fascinating info that isn't really very widely available. ...more
Levi
Much better than I expected! Not terribly detailed, but does a really good job of putting people and organizations like Harry Benjamin, Sharon Stone, and ACT UP in context for their times. I also appreciated the bit at the end where the origins of queer theory are outlined, although the terminology started to go a little over my head. (I'm embarrassed to admit I used to get Sharon Stone and Susan Stryker confused before reading this book... they have the same initials, dammit. Now I won't, thoug ...more
Brendon
I picked up this book in an effort to learn more about the history and struggle of the transgender community in the US. This is a population that I know very little about their history and their current movement for equity. As someone who is trying to work towards allyship for all transgender folks, it was a very good foundation for me. I knew in brief some of the issues; however (because of my own privilege) I did not know the most severe oppressions the transgender community faced and still fa ...more
Vicky
Notes

- didn't mention that "transvestite" is considered derogatory in the terms listed
- seems to spend more time on MTF than FTM
- being transgendered & the digital age: some kind of link, challenging assumptions
- "homosexual" coined by karl maria kertbeny in 1869
- the state regulating bodies; norms and expectations that "determine what kinds of lives are deemed livable or useful and by shutting down the spaces of possibility and imaginative transformation where people's lives begin to exceed
...more
Dana
Reads like the cliff notes of transgender history, focusing almost exclusively on the US, but it's a great place to start to learn about a subject. The history was compared to both feminist and gay/lesbian history in different time periods, with did a lot to better explain various events and movements. There is an extensive reference list in the back with is good for further reading. Highly recommend.
Amélie
Very interesting, although quite technical. I was hoping for something that would start earlier in time, and talk about transgender figures from the past (since I know some have been found), but this focused more on the politics and the definition of the movement. I still learnt many, many fascinating things.

This book was written in 2007, so it's really interesting to notice what has changed since. Mostly it's in the terms used - cis/cisgender, noted by the author as being new, is now widely acc
...more
Allan
Good for what it is: a popular history of transgendered individuals and communities in America since 1850. Provides basic vocabulary and a streamlined narrative of the more than occasional moments of strife between the T and the LGB portions of the LGBT community. Stryker contextualizes riots, movements, academics, and activists in a flurry of civil rights, gay liberation, feminism, and conservative backlashes to explain that while transgendered men and women have been involved in similar debate ...more
Melanie
First book finished in 2012! (Granted, I started it in September 2011.)

Easy to read--my first historical overview of the trans movement as situated in the context of LGB and queer activism. I also thought it had a nice balance of MTF and FTM perspectives.

I thought the chapter "The Difficult Decades" was excellent and informative. And "Current Wave" caught me up. At least to 2008.

"As significant as participation in queer and LGBT politics has been for the transgender movement since the early 1990
...more
Mirrordance
Una libro chiaro e leggibile che dimostra di essere stato scritto da una storia. Molto più puntuale e diretto di altri testi simili più orientati agli studi sociali, gender studies o filosofici anche se ripercorre spesso le stesse tappe. Molto ricca e interessante la bibliografia in appendice ma "strane" le domande in coda al libro come se nascesse come libro di testo universitario completo di domande di approfondimento e test finale. Molte delle informazioni contenute le conoscevo già ma è stat ...more
Bryan
Well written and fascinating. I learned some things about the history of transgenderism that I had never heard before. Notably, cooperation among gay and lesbian advocates and transgendered individuals, until very recently was poor. Feminists also have been deeply split in their support for the transgender community, some adamantly support the belief that transgenderism is merely a social/moral issue and should not be tolerated.
Thomas Flannery
A brief but seemingly thorough history of transgender rights in the US. As a novice on the topic I found it both helpful and fascinating. I also ended up learning a lot about the roots of my own gay culture, and I have a better sense of how the trans and gay communities are similar and also very different.
Only con is sometimes the material got quite dense. Usually I just had to put it down for a minute and then tackle it again. Worth the effort.
Bethany
Interesting study of the subject, there was (and undoubtedly is) definitely a wealth of information I do not know about the history of the transgender rights movement. This was a little more academic than I was in the mood for but that's in no way the fault of the author obviously. It was a quick read and seemed like a good overview.
Steph
Susan Stryker here engages in the work of adding to a body of literature that is right now pretty small- transgender history in America. While the LGB parts of that history have slightly more documentation, the T has tended to be overlooked until the past two decades and Stryker fills in a lot of important gaps, including her original research into the early foundations of trans activism such as the uprisings of street queens. This book is very accessibly written and not at all boring, making it ...more
Amy
May 19, 2009 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
An excellent book if you're looking for an overview of transgender history (obviously), especially as it relates to various other social justice movements, such as feminism and queerness. Although it is functionally a textbook, the author does a good job keeping it interesting by adding biographical materials and excerpts from relevant documents. Because the book is trying to cover more than one hundred years of history on a global scale (although the focus is mainly on U.S. transgenderism), it ...more
shay
this is a decent, if cursory introduction to the trans movement in the US. there were a lot of little facts that i was unaware of, and much that i was appalled by (specifically the shunning of trans folks throughout the feminist and early gay rights movement. and interesting to hear how HRC has worked against trans people from the beginning.

there should have been more discussion towards the end about the conflation of transgender and transsexual and the difference between them, but this was an
...more
Connie McEntee
This book was given to me as a gift early in my coming out process. It's a great high-level overview of transgender history.
Travis
A better title for the book would be Transgender History in the US, as there's barely any acknowledgement that other countries exist, much less that there might be trans people living there. It's also really short. The last forty pages are notes and such, and the first thirty are defining terms, so only 120 pages are actually devoted to the topic at hand. But for what it is, it's a pretty good read. While focusing primarily on white trans people, it does include PoC fairly often and acknowledges ...more
Gabriel
Wish there was more focus on trans women and their specific struggle but this was a good primer.
Linn
Really interesting and engagingly written. Am starting to think I've neglected this particular bit of my personal education, and this was a great way to start, I think. It's a comprehensive look of transgender history at least from the 50's onward, and as much as it made me furious in part (really, white feminists? really? are we going to have to have a discussion about what rape is? AGAIN?) it also made me understand transgenderism in a way I never have before.

A+, would read again. And I lament
...more
Jennifer Eller
Susan does a wonderful job of covering transgender activism and social acceptance (more of the lack thereof) of transgender individuals in the United States from 1850 to about the end of the first decade of 2000s. This is a vital primer for those new to the transgender movement and transgender individuals wanting to know more about their cultural heritage. I was particularly aprecative of the honest look at the tumultuous relationship between the transgender community and both the femenist and g ...more
Adina
I learned a lot about the pre 70s history of the Transgender community and its leaders.
Mollygf
A succinct, well written history of the transgender political movement in the 20th and 21st centuries, although in the brevity I feel like this book didn't always cover the nuances involved in all the topics covered; forgivable, considering the dearth of information available. But it gives a good overview of events, social and political factions, and historical viewpoints critical to understanding where we are today.
Jesse Lehrer
Really enjoyed this - it was a very solid introduction to the history of the transgender movement today, as we understand it in western culture. It had a lot of interesting tidbits, history excerpts, etc. that were really interesting and educational. It wasn't mindblowing, but as an intro book it was really great. I definitely suggest it for anyone interested in the roots of today's American transgender activism.
Kelly
It is the history of all the people that Stryker deems under the umbrella term "transgender" in the USA only. And only in the last 150 years. A tad limiting, but she's mainly attempting to just set up the transgender political movement how it is today and show its immediate history politically. It does it's job. I would think queer history/theory 101 textbook. not fun reading.
Genderqueer Chicago
This is the first (and I still think only) history that focuses entirely on trans people's role in history which makes it awesome. It is a great overview regardless of your level of background. Accessibly written and rather short, this is a great primer for anyone wanting to know a little about how our community has gotten where it is today.
Sara
Very good history of not only trans people and movements, but good refresher on the queer history as well and how they intersected. Only complaint would be the organization along a chronological path. Sometimes the topics/issues overlap so much that remembering related things alongside would be helpful.
AJ
This book is a really great, introductory history to transgender issues and activism in the US. As with most of the Seal Studies books, it is probably not meant for people who are looking for a very detailed, nuanced look at transgender history, but it provides a stepping stone for the novice.
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