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Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  318 ratings  ·  35 reviews
There is no one way to be transgender. Transgender and gender non-conforming people have many different ways of understanding their gender identities. Only recently have sex and gender been thought of as separate concepts, and we have learned that sex (traditionally thought of as physical or biological) is as variable as gender (traditionally thought of as social).

While t
Paperback, 649 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2014)
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Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Over the past several years I've been reading different parts of it in excerpts, in libraries, when reading from a friend's bookshelf, etc.

I am a trans, genderqueer person who has dealt with a lot of stuff. I have been homeless thrice, in and out of psychiatric hospital visits and have dealt with all sorts of abuses.
I have lived through corrective rape from an abusive relationship, attempted murder via a parent, being told by medical staff my gender is a delusion/"attention-seeking behaviour" a
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I actually only made it to page 174 before I realized I was not going to keep reading this behemoth. Not that this isn't a very, very good book -- it's just huge! It's literally a textbook of issues that can possibly affect transgender people, and it takes commitment to read it. I should have heeded the advice in the introduction to just skip around instead of trying to read straight through and getting burned out.

That being said, I really enjoyed reading it. I thought the section on social tran
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
5-Stars, incredibly informative. It's worth taking the weeks that it took to read it (640-something pages of writing, not including the resources in the back). If you're looking for...history, pop-culture (film, plays, art, music, much more), medical and social service resources, information on finding trans* and GNC comrades in 12-step programs, on the internet, or in your religious community, this is a place to start. It's a resource I'd recommend for spiritual and social workers, for allies, ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Helpful resource for information and language to support and accompany my young adult trans child. Offers an array of experiences and data.
Stephie Iris Williams
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
My review is once again to long to fit it all. So I am providing this link to my transgender blog where I did post it.
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well, reading this book has certainly been quite an enlightening journey. It's not really a cover-to-cover read, but a reference book, and one that's got plenty of invaluable information organized by topic and does its very best not to be judgmental. I think the overwhelming focus on genders that align to the masculine/feminine spectrum/paradigm, and especially the lack of discussion of gender binarism, is unfortunate, but hopefully that's something that could be rectified in later editions (whi ...more
Danni Green
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent and very important book. I did read it cover-to-cover, though that isn't necessary. It contains a lot of really useful, affirming information. I particularly appreciated the quotes and stories that gave voice to the experiences of individuals from a wide range of experiences. I had really wanted to read this book so that I would know whether it was worth recommending to others, and it definitely is; this is a high quality, well written, well researched reference written by a ...more
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful especially when it comes to educating folks about gender identity. It is a genuine look on the intersectionality within trans support and trans issues. I recommend this book to anyone who is exploring their own gender identity and/or wants to have a better understanding of the gender minority community.
Abel O'Brien
Kind of like a bible on what is probable and possible.
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Trans people in general
(I technically did not finish this book but this isn't the type of book you "finish," more on that later).

The best thing about this book is that it's THOROUGH.

Do you want to know how to come out to your parents? Your kids? Your job? Want to know about every surgery available to you? Here it is, all in one book.

Due to the fact that is spans across age, sexuality, and identity, this isn't one of those cover-to-cover reads (doing so might make you smarter but won't help much). I'm saying that I re
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading a lot of informational books about the transgender identity and so far this has been the least condescending and... well, weird, of any of them.

This book is huge, like a text book, but I thought there were some really useful sections and I liked how the thoughts and opinions of many different trans people were woven into the informational text to provide bits of personal narrative on whatever subject was being discussed.

Overall I would say there was one or two places where I c
Grace Mead
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This leads with overwrought and complicated theoretical discussions of gender and gender identity and terminology, when some fundamental notions of human decency and respect for persons and their choices could do most of the heavy lifting instead. Despite that, it goes on to provide a comprehensive survey of much of the literature surrounding the most important issues faced by transgendered people. It also reflects a wonderful balance among the perspectives of sensitive caregivers in the medical ...more
Lucky Bradley
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health, lecture, textbook
I feel I can give fair feedback on this, since I am a transgender woman. I want to say this is absolutely a good resource, if a little dated. It is more of a textbook and not something most people will read from cover to cover. Instead it is good to go back to the specific sections and read those sections.

If you are newly out as transgender, or if you want a little bit of insight, I highly recommend this book. Just understand that the society/cultural/historical changes in the transgender commun
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A terrific resource. Easily the best expose we have to date... but it could definitely be better. Basically it's 100% too dense (think graduate social work text) with lackluster structure to be a good reference book and is constantly bogged down by anecdotal asides, many of which are really only useful if you're cisgendered. For a second edition please consider beefing up the HRT and surgery sections. In my experience people always have questions and concerns about those which seem to be glossed ...more
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very very very detailed book. It would make an excellent multicultural counseling textbook based upon all the information each chapter is detailed, with the added emphasis that it details how things intersect with the diverse trans population. It discusses racial, age, disabilities, politics, various cultures, lifespan stuff and the media plus more.

I have several friends and acquaintances who contributed to this volume. I thank them for their dedication to this masterpiece.
Gayle Pitman
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt-nonfiction
This is an extremely comprehensive resource, covering a wide landscape of issues. Articles bring out a broad spectrum of diverse voices, all of which illuminate the complexity and diversity of trans experiences. If I had bought this book sooner, I would have made it a required textbook for one of my classes. I will absolutely use it as a text in the future.
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As the parent of a female to male transgendered son I am eager to learn more about the process of transitioning, and how people cope day to day as they seek to live their lives in the gender they truly identify with. This book is a wonderful resource. The issues transgendered individuals face are multi-layered, and complex. It's great to have a resource such as this to turn to. ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This would make an excellent resource for any social worker, as well as for the transgender community! Extremely straightforward and comprehensive and includes references to outside resources for learning more. Trans voices provide much of the information and commentary and the book as a whole is respectful of a broad spectrum of privilege, oppression, and difference even within the community.
Joanna Darrell
Jan 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I personally found this an excellent book which covers the subject of transgenderism really well. A little heavy going in a few places, but well worth sticking with. if you’re looking for a good general guide which you can use as a base for delving into more depth with a few key additions.
Alice Lemon
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, I only skimmed this book: it was too long and too much of it was introductory material for me to read cover-to-cover. But it seemed like a really good desk reference of information both for trans people and for people they are trying to explain themselves to.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This has to be one of the most in depth books about trans people and all the issues we face. As other people have mentioned it's more of a textbook than a fun read but it's very informative and insightful with lots of good suggestions and references for where to learn more. ...more
Sep 05, 2014 added it
Shelves: never-finished
Mostly a resource that I access occasionally. Clearly written.
Mills College Library
306.768 T7722 2014
May 06, 2015 marked it as to-read
A reference book inspired by Our Bodies, Ourselves. ...more
Vegan Viajo
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book for resources if you're in BH or medical field and a new level of understanding for Cisgender people wanting to support friends families or loved ones who are transitioning ! ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great resources and information for transfolx and allies.
Christina Cathcart
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A mind-boggling wealth of information, written textbook style. Perfect for someone exploring their gender for the first time.
Jun 18, 2019 marked it as blog-recs
Included in a blog post and resource list at ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent resource, written with the same intention as the well-known ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’... in which the information & perspectives being offered come from the people most affected.
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've had this book for awhile and just noticed I didn't write a review of it. This is a really good resource about the transgender community and our history. It is in textbook format and it does a good job of laying out the information. Just by the fact that it is a text book it is eventually going to start aging out of relevance, so hopefully new editions get released from time to time. Especially after everything that has happened this year in 2020.

I would definitely recommend this book to pe
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4 likes · 3 comments
“effort was made to select short pieces, quotes, and art that represent the diversity of trans communities. We have inevitably failed at this goal. Most of the authors live in the United States or Canada. Many are middle or upper class, and many are white. There are stories that are not told here—voices that are not heard. If one of these voices is yours, please consider completing our online survey or sending your suggestions for the next edition of this book to” 2 likes
“Some of us see ourselves as people born with a unique birth defect, one that can be “cured” by the intervention of the medical profession, and think of that journey in terms of physical transition. Some of us see ourselves as people who want to celebrate the fantasy aspects of gender, who want to enjoy the sense of escape and joy and eros that embracing an alter ego sometimes provides. Some of us see ourselves as people who reject the medical community and who are less interested in winding up at one gender destination or another than in the journey itself, a voyage that may or may not have a clear end point. Some of us hope to free ourselves from the binary poles of gender, want a personal and political liberation from the tyranny of culturally defined gender markers, and wish to express ourselves as we please, anywhere along the wide spectrum.” 0 likes
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