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Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,598 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Those who have heard Leslie Feinberg speak in person know how powerful and inspiring s/he can be. In Trans Liberation, Feinberg has gathered a collection of hir speeches on trans liberation and its essential connection to the liberation of all people. This wonderfully immediate, impassioned, and stirring book is for anyone who cares about civil rights and creating a just a ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published October 10th 1999 by Beacon Press (first published 1998)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  1,598 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those struggling with their gender identity
This is a world where jokes about men getting confused at women's many emotions, and women being unable to enjoy a good round of guns and sports, are accepted and a good way to gain Facebook Likes. Feinberg considers anyone who deviates from these strict concepts of male and female, an ally in the trans liberation movement. To that effect, ze gave speeches in 1997 to rally troops to the cause.

Heterosexual cross-dressers, drag queens, drag kings, Queer Studies college students, Pride organizers,
Bek MoonyReadsByStarlight
Trans Liberation by Leslie Feinberg highlights trans beauty, trans joy, trans struggle, trans resilience, and solidarity. It was so empowering to read, as a non-binary person. It was comforting and empowering to hear hir talk about solidarity in a way that was so much more comprehensive than I would have expected even from the late 1990’s. Ze discuss the importance of solidarity on issues of gender, sexuality, race, disability, and class. Ze also has several trans people of color featured in som ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am surprised to see so many reviewers thought the language in the book was like a manifesto or that it sounded more like speeches. In my opinion, this book was beyond excellent. These are collected speeches (mostly), it will be written in a tone of addressing and mobilizing people and that is beautiful. I don't know if the rarity of trans-centered writing made people want everything from it, maybe some people expected more academic theorizing, I don't know. But I thought it was perfect, inters ...more
Feb 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
A few of my favorite quotes:

"While there is as yet no language for who I have become, I articulate my gender -- silent to the ear, but thunderous to the eye."

"I have seen a substantial current of women across the United States - straight, lesbian, and bisexual - welcome discovering more about trans liberation. They are thrilled at the way our movement is helping revitalize women's liberation by revisiting discussions about what it means to be a woman, and how the reduction of 'woman' to one comm
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've strongly admired Les Feinberg for almost as long as i've been aware of my queer identity (12 years). It was a delight to find this book on a shelf and to have an evening alone to read it slowly and thoroughly, after wanting to read this for years.

This book brings together Feinberg's speeches writing during the year of 1997, after zie barely survived an illness worsened by the barriers of transphobia and poverty. The book also includes speeches / writing by many trans leaders young, old, Bla
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's sad how many of the core issues Feinberg addresses are still key battlegrounds today, especially as we prepare for the trump presidency. Healthcare, trans* people's rights to use a bathroom, mainstream gay and lesbian organizing leaving trans* demands in the dust :( ...more
Jan 16, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I think this is a good intro book for people who've not thought about gender much before, but I guess I wanted a bit ... more? I think I agree with most of ze says anyway, and didn't really learn anything new, and the stuff that I wasn't sure about, I didn't get a deeper/different understanding of. It's definitely an interesting book historically - seeing where trans activism (and queer activism more generally) was at in the 90s. ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was excellent. For just 147 pages Leslie Feinberg managed to discuss so much and be as inclusive as possible.

This book was published in 1999 and it’s 2019 now and activists and grassroots are still calling out for the same rights, demanding respect and discussing similar issues that Leslie Feinberg called out for then and mentioned in this book.

Sometimes I’m wary picking up books written years ago because I don’t want the bulk of my reading to be about the history and not the present (I r
Since it was the first book on trans politics I was ever exposed to, I got the impression this book was something of "the manifesto," the standard comprehensive intro to the topic. It kind of is that, but the speech-collection format is something I never enjoy, and it's certainly not a good way to make a book. The ideas are repetitive and shallow for book content, since Les has to cover the same ground for each audience and doesn't have the time to go to deep into any one thing.

So Les makes a c
Oscar Oscar
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s not very often a book on transness resonates so deeply with me. The quote “I live proudly in a body of my own design. I defend my right to be complex,” grabbed me and left me feeling understood and empowered.

Also hell yes re: the Marxist lens Feinberg gives to trans liberation. We love 2 see it.
Maggie Cox
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is incredible. I wish I had read this book years ago, but I am thankful to have found it now. It is absolutely going on the Required Reading list, and I would recommend it to everyone working in progressive circles, especially white cisgender people.

When I looked up books about trans liberation, this book kept appearing, and now I know why. It is heartbreaking and very frustrating to me that we don't seem to learn much of value in schools but I am very thankful to be able to learn fro
First off: read Stone Butch Blues.

Leslie Feinberg reminds me of bell hooks in that hir writing is intersectional, sharp, and so clear that you can relax even as you read challenging work. I'm not psyched on the 'collection of speeches' format of this book, but the content was excellent, short, and to the point. Feinberg's speeches are juxtaposed with short essays by a range of trans activists writing about their identities and activism. There's a lot of passion, history, and hope in this small v
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: trans folks who want to feel more connected; activisty folks who want to be more trans friendly
Shelves: queer, nonfiction
I read this a few years ago, and I remember it actually being my favorite of Leslie Feinberg's books.

The thing I loved about this book is that Leslie really connects the experience of having a trans body and/or a trans experience with a greater struggle of trying to live and survive in the midst of a horrible economy made up of "haves" and "have-nots"--stuff that is not unique to the trans experience.

I sometimes get frustrated that a lot of awesome books out there that discuss trans stuff do so
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer-trans
This quote from the introduction We Are All Works in Progress sums up the relevance of the book:
"To me, gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught."
This book is a wonderful read for people new to trans issues because each chapter is from a different perspective, written by a different trans identified person. The language is accepting and free of jargon. Trans liberation is ultimately the liberation of the self from society's oppressive confines, whether you conside
May 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Just as there is a sub-genre for trans memoirs at this point there is also a huge field of trans anger cloaked as activism books out there. Don't read this, we aren't all like this. Just looking at this cover is frustrating me. There are blogs done by trans teenagers that are better than this book. ...more
Zane Carey
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt
one of the shortest things i have ever read, but definitely sticks in my heart
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm rereading Leslie's work, which seems more timely than ever. I can't tell you how much I miss this person's voice. ...more
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book contains edited versions of talks done in the early 90s. It also contains pretty heavy talk about hospitals that is really shattering. It’s truly heavy content but very necessary to learn history of our lbgtqa+ siblings. I love Leslie and you should too!
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
extremely powerful, loving, incisive, persuasive, invigorating speech and writing. I'm so glad I took the time to sit down and read this text and let it all wash over me ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s a good book for learning historical events and overthinking your points of view. Mainly the book is about trans*, nonbinary and gender nonconformity activism, the discussion about importance of it and what place it takes in LGBTQIA+ overall activity. But while reading this it needs to be remembered, that the book was written in 1998, so it is also good for analyzing and comparing situations in 90s and in nowadays.
Jun 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer
I wrote this review of Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue for the Winter 1999/Spring 2000 issue of The MSRRT Newsletter. This was the last issue of The MSRRT Newsletter that I wrote for, possible the last issue of The MSRRT Newsletter that was ever produced.

This third book by transgender activist Leslie Feinberg is a collection of eight essays, many adapted from addresses delivered during speaking engagements in 1997. It also includes ten written self-portraits by other trans people and suppo
Jun 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Although this volume of personal profiles and public addresses is a bit dated, it serves as a fairly good introduction to the history of the trans movement and some still-current issues. It effectively challenges the view that sex and gender are ""normally" a duality: M/F or even Straight/Gay.
A passage which has stayed with me is this, " We are told from the time that we learn to walk that the magic number is two: male/female, black/white, right/wrong, day/night, sun/moon, good/evil...the list g
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is another awesome book by Leslie Feinberg - in this one, ze examines the rift between transgender rights and feminism, and argues that they need each other and can benefit from each other's experience.

This book is primarily an attack on transphobia within the feminist movement, and while I can say that this seems to be decreasing in general, it's important to mention that transgender rights are often put on the back burner when compared to major social issues like gay marriage and equal pa
Rachel Mills
Jul 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: gender-theory
I am re-reading this book. I first read it at least 10 years ago when I was thinking a lot about gender theory.

I'm currently on the first chapter where she is speaking to a cross-dresser's conference.

I like the way ze draws the different varieties of T* experience together. It's easy to forget that trans experience extends further than just transwoman/transman if you are a transwoman/transman. In fact there are large numbers of people who identify as men or women but need or want to express th
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My love and admiration for Leslie Feinberg are endless. This book is a collection of hir speeches from different conferences/rallies in the late 90's. The book also includes portraits written by other trans activists.

One of my favorite quotes from this book: "The people who make a difference in history are those who fight for freedom--not because they're guaranteed to succeed--but because it's the right thing to do. And that's the kind of fighters that history demands today. Not those who worsh
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
I bought this book to use some direct quotes from Leslie Feinberg for a paper that I wrote in a sexuality studies course. It is simply an inspiring collection of transcriptions from speeches ze has given at a variety of conferences and forums on gender identity. Ze discusses trans issues such as feeling invisible in a society that mandates binary gender, as well as more important realities, such as the common lack of availability and access to trans-friendly health care. Feinberg incites hir aud ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it
I read this book as a follow-up to "Trans/Portraits," not realizing how similar the two books were. I read Feinberg's "Stone Butch Blues" a long time ago, and followed ze's story over the years. Ze died last year, and I mourn hir loss. "Trans Liberation" is a compilation of some presentations that Feinberg gave to various conferences in 1998, along with chapters written by various participants of those conferences. I was pleased to note the inclusion of a chapter written by Cheryl Chase of the i ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 4-star, lgbt
An excellent collections of essays and speeches from multiple cultures and identity across the LGBT community. I would die for Leslie Feinberg, so I was already into it before it started. There were perhaps a few things in the books that I disagreed with ideologically wise, but really this is still a great book for understanding the trans movement as we know it now, while also tying in the early trans movement of our parents and grandparents.

Highly suggest!
May 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
Love the Leslie F but would assign different readings on gender miself. I dislike this book for a similar reason as I dislike People's History. People's History - just read some of the books in the bibliography. TransL - use some of the books People's bibliography! My basic rant in this discussion: I love reclaiming history, but use some primary resources! Yeesh! ...more
Aug 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sean, lloyd, puja, jon, and anyone else interested
i definitely dig les feinberg's writing style and appreciate his focus on showing how trans liberation relates to and is part and parcel of other social struggles around race and wealth inequality.

also, every other chapter is a self-portrait. i love love love personal stories. very quick read.
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Leslie Feinberg was a transgender activist, speaker, and author. Feinberg was 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 appeared in the Workers World newspaper. Feinberg's partner was the prominent lesbian poet-activist Minnie Bruce Pratt. Feinberg was also involved in Camp Tra

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“Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught.” 89 likes
“I have heard an argument that transgender people oppress transsexual people because we are trying to tear down the categories of male and female. But isn't this the same reactionary argument used against transmen and transwomen by those who argue that any challenges to assigned birth sex threaten the categories of man and woman? Transgender people are not dismantling the categories of man and woman. We are opening up a world of possibilities in addition. Each of us has a right to our identities. To claim one group of downtrodden people is oppressing another by their self-identification is to swing your guns away from those who really do oppress us, and to aim them at those who are already under siege.” 5 likes
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