Jeff's Reviews > Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender

Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender by Vern L. Bullough
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's review
May 28, 12

Read from April 20 to May 27, 2012

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone interested in the subject of gender- and sexual-variant behaviour - although it focusses primarily upon cross-dressing, it (inevitably?) looks at homosexuals and transsexuals too.

Make no mistake - this is an academic work, largely a factual review of the history of the subject from the earliest documented examples through the medicalisation of these phenomena and the subsequent research. Opinion and comments about what should be the case are relegated largely to the summary in the postscript. So, with 372 pages of dense text, this could appear to be a daunting book to the layman. That shouldn't be the case - it's a very easy read, not least because of excellent referencing that can be pursued or ignored as the reader desires.

My quibbles are minor. Although I would have liked to have seen some aspects of the topic explored more fully, the only real shortcoming of this book for me is not something the authors could have done much about: it was published in 1993. If, as the authors state, the subject had undergone drastic changes in the couple of decades leading up to publication, the same is certainly true for the two decades since. It cannot be the last word on the subject as it might have been at publication.

Nonetheless, more recent events cannot change the history that the book covers and, in that light, this remains a quite fascinating volume.
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