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Transgender History

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  3,880 ratings  ·  399 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
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Seal Press
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Alicia Winokur There might be a few references to sex, and maybe one or two mild language uses in quotes, but I think it's overall appropriate for teens.…moreThere might be a few references to sex, and maybe one or two mild language uses in quotes, but I think it's overall appropriate for teens.(less)

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 ·  3,880 ratings  ·  399 reviews

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Alok Vaid-Menon
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq-history
Historians believe that the Cooper Do-nut Riot in 1959 was the first modern LGBTQ uprising in the US (a decade before Stonewall). Police officers demanded identification from trans people on the streets of Los Angeles as a way to arrest them for sex work, vagrancy, loitering, and “so-called nuisance crimes” (77). It was illegal in LA for a person’s gender presentation to not match the gender shown on their ID. Gay bars would often ban trans people from entering out of fear of police persecution. ...more
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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. ...more
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
First published in 2008 but recently revised and rereleased, Susan Stryker's Transgender History overviews a wide array of American individuals, events, and organizations related to trans history. The book lacks an overarching narrative that ties together all the chapters, though each proceeds chronologically. The main chapters are preceded by an introduction featuring a catalogue of terms and definitions. Stryker's meandering focus and lack of a thesis often makes her book read like a history t ...more
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
cons: published in 2008, so the language is a bit dated – in part because the movement has already changed so dramatically in the last 7 years. like– the author is clearly writing from her perspective, through her lens, in differentiating between one's "sex" (genitals) and gender. that differentiation has come under some very valid criticism in recent years (ex), and that's something to keep in mind. as much as this text is a chronicle of history, it doesn't exist outside of it, either.

pros: EVE
Jul 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
I thought this was super informative overall, but I wish it'd been longer. It feels like the author tried to keep this as short as possible which, considering how much history she manages to squeeze in, just made it feel very dense and academic like a textbook.

I was also confused by her defining bisexuality as "[desire] toward members of either gender in a binary gender system" and polysexual and polyamorous as "[desire] toward many people of different genders).” While this definition works for
Alex Black
May 06, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, lgbt
I'm gonna go ahead and start this review with the fact that I rate based on personal enjoyment, not necessarily how worthwhile a book is. I didn't realize quite how academic this book was going in and I don't usually read academic books. So I did struggle quite a bit with the overall tone and writing style.

The other main thing I struggled with was how short it was. I read an ebook version so when I initially picked it up, I didn't realize that it's only about 200 pages long. Considering it cover
This book is a U.S.-based history of gender non-conformity. And since I was born and raised in this country, reading this book had me excavating my past. Stryker has produced a fantastic short book on the subject. While I disagree with some of her characterizations (especially when she talked about music), I just couldn't stop reading. Like most books that attempt to cover everything up to the present, it got marginally weaker towards the end. I'm assuming that this is because we simply don't ha ...more
Mar 18, 2017 added it
Shelves: non-fiction, trans
This is a really good primer on US transgender history focused on the past fifty years or so and showcasing prominent figures alongside pivotal movements. Stryker does a really good job of contextualizing the political battles and the attendant conflicts/betrayals of the larger queer community and the feminist movements.

Nuanced, readable, eminently informative: highly recommended.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, lgbtq
fantastic and engaging, though i’m pretty disappointed that the definition given for bisexuality in the opening chapter is the “attraction to two binary genders” nonsense
Nov 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-researched guide to the history of the people, the issues and organizations that have shaped the US transgender community since the 19th century. It makes the reader aware of the struggles this movement has faced: attacks from all sides of the political spectrum, its people invisible for many years, marginalized and vulnerable to violence and neglect from government protection.

The book is written in an accessible language and even includes a chapter on terms and concepts that eve
Apr 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: histories, trans
look at me reading things unrelated to class during school ,, yay. this book was good! a very readable and introductory history of trans organizing in the USA, it was rly great! really loved the sections on the 50s and the 80s/90s since it was lesser known to me than the slightly more remembered marsha p johnson & sylvia rivera revolutionary action in the 60s and the compton cafeteria riot. also the little excerpts of diary entries and primary source materials are always so incredible ... the le ...more
Omar Abu samra
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting and important book
Samuel Berston
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Comprehensive overview of trans liberation movements with a moving final chapter.
Sara Jaye
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer-studies
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
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 in the US 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 orga ...more
Akiva Ѯ
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
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
really great introductory text to transgender history! did a really clever job of successfully deploying historical terminology within the terms of the history (explaining the shift from terms like transsexual and transvestite to transgender) and carefully arcs the history of transgender exclusion within the queer community from 73 to the present. also does a really good job introducing relevant texts, including those written by trans exclusionary authors.

the biggest flaw in the book really come
Jul 25, 2016 rated it liked it
This wasn't quite what I was looking for. As a cisgendered, heterosexual individual, I think I wanted to understand the story of transgender more than the actual history. There were glimmers of what I was looking for, but I think I might be looking for more of a biography than a history. ...more
Jul 11, 2020 rated it liked it
This should really be called Transgender History in the U.S.
Erin Crane
Dec 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I think this was a pretty engaging history, though I won’t remember a lot of specifics from it. I never do with history books. But it was a worthwhile read for getting a vague sense of the history as a takeaway. I appreciated learning about the tensions between trans* folk and feminism and the LGB of LGBT, too. The intersections of all of this are complicated, and I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around it as an outsider and aspiring ally.

The book revealed what felt like a pattern of progress an
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't remember if I've ever read a book that made me look for as many different people and their writings before. A very good introduction overall, despite some weaknesses, I would definitely recommend reading it. Especially if you are somewhat disillusioned and dissatisfied with contemporary discourses, there are a lot of interesting impulses presented here. ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read the revised edition/2nd edition published in 2017.
Incredible book, I learnt so much. One of the best LGBTQ history books I've read, I'd recommend everyone to read this book. It's also very accessible, enjoyable and easy to read.
The only part I felt let it down was the final chapter on recent trans history, mostly because it was a lot of stuff I already knew and also because I felt it didn't push it's politics hard enough.
Victoria Robert
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Transgender History by Susan Stryker was a really great listen! I listened to the audiobook and found it very comprehensive and interesting. As a person that may or have already worked with trans people, I thought this book was really informative, especially from a social-political abd historical point of view. I also really appreciated and respected that it was written by a trans person!
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, lgbt
a thorough yet quick read on american trans history. provided a lot of context for issues going on today (use of the word queer, terfs, etc).
Chris Burd
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
This is not a full scale "history of transgender identity" - and I think it is important to keep that in mind. (And the author makes that very clear in the opening of the book.) Instead, this is a history of the transgender political movement within the United States. While that sounds like a rather narrow perspective, it allows for a very focused and clear narrative.

I highly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in queer history - or anyone with an interest in activism.

Note: I read th
This is my hundredth book of the year!! I started it sooo long ago, I take so long to read non-fiction physical books!

It was excellent though, I learnt some stuff, realized TERFs have been using the same tired arguments for way longer than I thought, and it deepened my pride and determination as a queer activist and LGBT+ centre volunteer. I WISH there were queer history books about French queer history but I can't really find any, so I'll read all the US and UK one instead.

Overall excellent and
Anthony Chan
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite informative and an excellent launching point into the understanding the transgender struggle.
Kenny Kidd
Sep 02, 2022 rated it really liked it
Filled with relevant information and paints a fairly full picture of the history of the Trans* movement, but reads smoothly and elegantly! A very valuable resource for those interested in this particular slice of history :-)

Found the sections on the tension and conflict between the Trans movement and both other queer groups and feminist movements VERY interesting and thought-provoking
Scott  Hitchcock
Very informative. I did not know a lot of things within the LGBTQ community which trans people had to go through never mind with the woman's movement. ...more
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Susan O'Neal Stryker is an American professor, author, filmmaker, and theorist whose work focuses on gender and human sexuality. She is an associate professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona, and is the director of the university's Institute for LGBT Studies. She has served as a visiting professor at Harvard University, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Simon Fra ...more

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