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Transgender Warriors : Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman
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Transgender Warriors : Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,060 ratings  ·  49 reviews
With a New Afterword by the Author

In this fascinating, personal journey through history, Leslie Feinberg uncovers persuasive evidence that there have always been people who crossed the cultural boundaries of gender. Transgender Warriors is an eye-opening jaunt through the history of gender expression and a powerful testament to the rebellious spirit.

Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 30th 1997 by Beacon Press (first published 1996)
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Sarah
I have such mixed feeling about this book.

On one hand, it is obviously a very personal book for the author, chronicling her journey to find people like herself in history and in the present day. The autobiographical parts are great and the photo section in the back is inspirational. I don't begrudge her deep need to find people like her in the world and to start looking at larger issues in Western culture.

However, as a person with an academic historical background, I cringed at a lot of her exa
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Bryn
Oddly culturally imperialistic from the self-professed king of anti-imperialism.
Shanice Mcbean
I've read a few reviews of this and a lot seem to bash Feinberg for not presenting a thoroughly academic history of transgender identity. I do think this kind of critique misses the point: quite spectacularly.

It's definitely true that if you want a meticulous, detailed, jargony drudge through trans history then this is not the book: it neither has the style, content or length for that kinda project.

But this book from the beginning opens as a personal story of discovering oneself *through* histo
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Tamara K. W.
An excellent, very thorough and detailed read on trans history. Transgender Warriors has a scholarly tone and feel without seeming academic, and rigorously examines years of struggle in a manner that remains energetic and uplifting. Leslie Feinberg manages to blend elements of hir own narrative, a rousing call to action, historiographical analysis and glimpses into the lives of prominent trans individuals into a fascinating treatise, inspiring for trans and gender-nonconforming people in the pre ...more
Caty
Okay, let's just say this now--this book is not a well researched, thourough, copmprehensive historical document--more like a broadsheet.
However, it introduces fascinating possibilities for further self-directed historical research about this mostly silenced population's history. & the connection made between transgendered people's history & revolutionary movements in the next to last chapter--from crossdressing peasant tollbooth rioters in 1700s England to Stonewall--is particularly com
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Dan
A ridiculous radical Marxist personal account of one trans-man's journey of historical self-discovery. Too bad the presentation was 99% ahistorical. I'm sorry, but you can draw a straight line from transgender Hindu deities to Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman. It just doesn't work.
HeavyReader
Jun 29, 2007 HeavyReader rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everybody!
Shelves: queer
This book is well-researched and sources are documented. It is packed full of information on transgender people throughout history.

It's a must read. Highly Recommended
Nathan
This book begins almost as a memoir, but quickly delves into how gender subversion has been a part of radical revolutionary movements for centuries.

Although it is rather short, this book is full of stories and information that are sure to lead to further reading -- naturally Joan d'Arc is mentioned, but also many other cases of gender-bending revolutionaries that helped shape the world.

This is a must read for anyone who is interested in gender politics, revolution, progressive politics, or just
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Sari Krosinsky
Aug 31, 2014 Sari Krosinsky rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who thinks there are only two genders, and anyone who knows there aren't
Reading "Transgender Warriors" almost 20 years ago helped me understand my own relationship to sex and gender. It taught me that I'm not alone here beyond the ones and zeroes of the gender binary, and that in some ways we all live within the fractions and infinities.
Emily
Oct 15, 2008 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like to think outside the history book
Shelves: booksofthepast
I read this book in college and after recently searching through some old notes I remembered how much I liked it. I think it has some issues, namely its rather questionable location of various events in history, but they're understandable in a field that is so unexplored. This book is really relevant for anyone who is interested in activism, history as a method of social change or in the idea that not just boring old white guys should get to write history. As one of the first attempts to locate ...more
Sassafras Lowrey
Transgender Warriors gives us a history- for so many of us who have transgressed gender norms we had no idea that there were others who had come before us
Ariel
This is the seminal book on trans history!

Leslie Feinberg takes us into a journey on the hidden history of trans people, theorising why we were written out of history. During my coming out, it was a hugely empowering book, showing me the historical roots of different gender identities.

Feinberg's style is also very accessible, using personal anecdotes of how the knowledge was obtained to add a huge amount of character to the book. Feinberg believes in a grassroots, liberated form of learning whic
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globulon
While I can understand that for people soaked in "theory" or who study gender studies at school this book might be unsophisticated or even misleading in particulars, I thought it was interesting and a good starting point. I liked the connection with the class struggle that the author brought to the forefront. I also learned from the book and felt it helped me slough off preconceived notions although I come from a very tolerant and open background. I guess I give it a 3 rather than a 4 because wh ...more
Dawne
Just beginning but looks really interesting. Preface is worth reading for its discussion of the language of gender. So much cultural information is carried by language, and I am always interested in the stories told by the words we choose to describe ourselves.

I am now finished and have to say I enjoyed the historical information. It asked me to look again at what I thought I knew about history. Having said that, I found the style dry and academic for long stretches. Read it anyway to expand yo
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Darceylaine
From our Friends at Beacon Press. A must read if you are interested in Gender Theory. I understand what the critics are saying about its historicity, but for crying out loud- it's a semi-autobiographical account of her learning about the role of gender-benders in history; she's not claiming to be a history professor at Harvard. It's compelling narrative, and the number of photos and accounts help dispel any sense of invisibility of trans folks in history. OH, also it's explicitly Marxist at some ...more
Noah
Though Feinberg starts off well, she shows herself to be an amateur historian, preferring the facts that support her argument to looking at history in its entirety. The problem with this book resides in the author's reliance on the horribly false and undermining ideas that both men and the Christian Church are naturally oppressive. Based on such falsities, how could any opinion (whether it be on history, politics, society, or anything else) lead even close to truth?
Kellee
A little disorganized, and a little shallower than i would have liked.
Mirrordance
Regalo anticipato. Ovviamente non ho resistito, ho scartato ed ho cominciato a leggere. Bello. Saggio interessante con ampia bibliografia.

Confermo tutto a lettura terminata. Forse un pizzico divulgativo, a volte si perde ma decisamente interessante soprattutto per un largo pubblico più che per lettori motivati.

Per chi è interessato all'argomento è un buon sunto con una amplissima bibliografia.

Da leggere e diffondere.

m_miriam
Although this book is about 10 years old, it remains very relavent. This speaks to both how powerful of a writer Feinberg is, as well as how much work there is to do around trans issues. I found this book really helpful in activism that I am currently working on. I especially appreciated the writing on allies and supportive communities. Also, Feinberg's break down of class issues is superb.
Lorri
This book is an exhaustive look at the history of transgenderism throughout time - it's a reminder that history can be interpreted a myriad of perspectives! I appreciated Leslie's sense of humor, and her ability to relate difficult information without bitterness. Her writing is powerful and concise. An excellent read for anyone interested in the topic.
Bart
Perhaps troublesome in romanticizing indigenous acceptance of people outside of the binary and shallow accounts of trans folks perstories, Transgendered Warriors is nevertheless important. Important for bringing (even shallow) accounts of perstories out of academia and giving visibility to amazing and more "average" trans folks.
Michelle
I read this book in college when I was writing a book about gender roles. It is an incredibly researched book delving deep into the history of people and cultures who have either embraced genders different than the ones who have been assigned to them, or have open spaces in their cultures for more than simply two genders.
Sandy
I really enjoyed Feinberg's way of looking at the past. S/he incorporates his/her own working class experience with transgenderism. I don't believe that we can look as far back as Feinberg does and still call it "transgenderism" since that is a modern term but her/his historical examples are very enlightening.
Barnacle
It has a lot of similarities and a lot of differences to Stone Butch Blues, but I think I read them in too close of a time frame, I might have enjoyed it better if I had had a break from Feinbergs writting. It seemed that there were parts that had been lifted directly from Stone Butch Blues.
Lobeck
lots of good info. i'm glad someone is writing trans history, and i like that feinberg's style makes it clear that anyone can grapple with these ideas, academically trained or not. alas, some facts about ancient communal societies are incorrect and over-idealized, so minus puntos for that.
Michaela
Although I may not agree with him on some items, say communism as a cure for what ails us, this book was fascinating from a historical perspective in examining the intersection of culture, colonialism, patriarchy, religion, and economic forces on the topic. Eye opening.
Jayne Furlong
Possibly the most amazing book I have ever read. It put so much of life into such a new perspective. I truly loved every second of it. I plan to re-eread this book a million times and to never ever let it go! I even recommended it to my mom, but refused to give her my copy :)
Lord Beardsley
One of those "everyone should read this" books. Profound, fascinating, moving, and informative. There really is no such thing as two genders, and gives a succint history of gender queer people in history who sought for emancipation from gender binaries.
Jude Arnold
I got a very important piece from this excellent book; that is we've all got 2 things going on with regard to our sexuality, how we choose to present ourselves and our preference in sexual partners.
Rebekah
This book is great for a better understanding of the history and background in the trans community. Easy to read, address social institutionalism, and voices past/present concerns facing them.
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Leslie Feinberg is a transgender activist, speaker, and author. Feinberg is a high ranking member of the Workers World Party and a managing editor of Workers World newspaper.

Feinberg's writings on LGBT history, "Lavender & Red," frequently appear in the Workers World newspaper. Feinberg's partner is the prominent lesbian poet-activist Minnie Bruce Pratt. Feinberg has also been involved in Camp
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More about Leslie Feinberg...
Stone Butch Blues Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue Drag King Dreams Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time Has Come Rainbow Solidarity in Defense of Cuba

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“We have not always been forced to pass, to go underground, in order to work and live. We have a right to live openly and proudly...when our lives are suppressed, everyone is denied an understanding of the rich diversity of sex and gender expression and experience that exist in human society.” 7 likes
“But if theory is not the crystallized resin of experience, it ceases to be a guide to action.” 1 likes
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