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Trans Like Me: A Journey for All of Us

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  793 ratings  ·  129 reviews
What does it mean to be transgender? How do we discuss the subject?

In this eye-opening book, C.N. Lester, academic and activist, takes us on a journey through some of the most pressing issues concerning the trans debate: from pronouns to Caitlyn Jenner; from feminist and LGBTQ activists, to the rise in referrals for gender variant children -- all by way of insightful
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published May 25th 2017 by Virago
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Alexis Hall
I fucking adore CN Lester, and their book is about as like them as you'd expect it to be. This is an accessible combination of personal memoir, historical perspective, and social polemic--both sensitive where it needs to be and uncompromising when it matters. It's very much a 101 about trans and non-binary identity, so in that respect it's probably more likely to be "useful" to cis people but the issues it explores it does so extremely thoughtfully. Should probably be required reading for cis pe ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a pretty comprehensive, accessible resource for people looking to come to an understanding of what it is to be trans (and the multiplicities of that term) in our current culture. Lester writes in a very profound but still approachable style. They focus each chapter on something either directly or tangentially related to trans people’s lives while citing sources and using personal anecdotes. Some what old news personally but I don’t fault them for that; I think it’s good to reiterate, esp ...more
Lizzie Huxley-Jones
Trans Like Me is a mixture of memoir and writing about the current climate around trans people. Lester, who is non-binary, has created an informative introduction to issues surrounding trans people without ever being patronising. While trans people may be familiar with much of the introductory topics Lester provides, I suspect that much of the information about current issues for trans people will be new to many cis people.

As a non-binary person, I found reading Lester’s struggles with presentat
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
What does the word “trans” mean to you?

This is the first thing CN Lester asks in their book Trans Like Me and I find it’s a pretty good way to start the conversation without seeming too confrontational. It doesn’t matter how much you know or don’t know about trans identity; Lester is here to tell you about it as they go on to tackles some of the most pressing issues that are faced by the trans community today along with their own experiences as someone who is trans.

The things that are discussed
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
(2.5 stars)

I had a hard time rating this one, because I didn't want it to seem like I didn't think that this book was important. It is most definitely important. However, I thought that its readability and accessibility weren't the best. I think that everyone needs to be aware of these issues and the issues the Lester presents, however, they didn't make it accessible to people who may not be educated about trans issues.

I wish more people could read this book, but the density might make it too
Fred Langridge
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Intimate, informative and moving - I want to get a copy of this for everyone who celebrates or supports my transness, everyone who doesn't really get it and everyone in the overlap.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: not-cis-authors
THIS is the book I'll be recommending to cis people who aren't ready for something as dense as Serano's Whipping Girl. It's written on a 101 level without speaking down to the reader. I have mixed feelings about its tragic overtone, but overall I feel it's vital: Too many cis people have a tendency to focus on the advances they've seen and either ignore or just don't get that there continue to be very real, current, everyday struggles that trans and nonbinary people face.

Good exploration of cri
Bonnie G.
A very good combination of memoir, social science study, political polemic, history, and opinion piece on feminist theory (and the limitations set by its historical lack of intersectionality.) Lester does not acknowledge in any way the source of people's discomfort with gender nonconformity, and I think just glossing over that discussion limits this to a book that will be broadening to trans allies rather than people still trying to figure things out. One notable example, there is an acknowledgm ...more
A clear, well thought-out introduction to trans issues from the musician, academic and activist C.N. Lester. This book meets the reader where they are likely to be, tackling many of the questions/myths that tend to crop up in the media - why gendered public toilets are problematic for trans people, the reality behind the scaremongering around trans children etc. The latter particularly stuck in my mind when Lester highlighted the double standard of expecting trans people to have known they were ...more
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely wonderful book. It combines memoir with fact, and is so affirming for non-binary and gender-nonconforming people.
Jo Coleman
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This should be called "Why trans?", I think - and the author addresses one current prejudice after another (What about children? What about the toilets? What about feminism? Are people just trans because it's cool these days?) so thoughtfully, sensibly and passionately that the conclusion is "Why not?". I hope this is as useful for trans people as it is for clumsy fools like me.
As a cisgender ally, I learnt so much from this book. It's easy to read, but still rich with points to contemplate. I would like to buy copies for my friends and family and everyone who is willing to listen to something more than the limited mainstream media version of what being transgender means. It is painful to think about all the ways CN and so many others are suffering from society's transphobia, and how unnecessary all types of gendered oppression are.

I particularly loved the chapter abo
Verity W
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really very, very good. Immensely thought provoking, I hope this makes a big impact. I picked this up because I became aware that, despite my best intentions, I could be accidentally hurting or offending trans people because I was not well enough informed on the subject. I have a couple of other books on the pile to read to help me improve my knowledge and make me a better cisgender ally.

CN Lester does a wonderful job of setting out their points of view and the way that they are perceived by so
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is chicken soup for the trans soul. Lester is clear-headed as they deconstruct and debunk arguments used against the acceptance of trans people. They give real-life insight into the experiences trans people face when attempting to access services or public spaces.

If you are trans, read this. This is the book I've been searching for for years; something that reflects my own experiences back at me, and assures me that I am not alone. Lester convinced me that my invisibility and people's
Christine Burns
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Trans-related books are in vogue at the moment. We are thankfully moving away from the confessional autobiography, which was the publishers' mainstay for much of the last forty years, and now we are seeing a greater diversity of angles about trans people's lives and their relation to society. Trans Like Me signals the way to go. It is one of the best and most articulate books on the subject that I've seen in a while — up there with Julia Serano's 'Whipping Girl'. It's a really intelligent discus ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever read their meticulously researched, yet incredibly readable blogs that the musician, academic and activist CN Lester did not produce the tell-all trans memoir so beloved by the tabloids. Instead, CN blends personal experience with academic rigour to create a clear-eyed, non-judgemental work that sensitively tackles everything from gender neutral pronouns, to puberty blockers, to Caitlyn Jenner. I raced through this book, which I’d argue is ess ...more
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Undoubtedly, it is one of the best books I have read this year. Trans like me by CN Lester is a collection of arguments that questions and dismantles misogyny, transphobia, patriarchy and societal gendered norms and expectations. Lester carefully puts down their thoughts into 15 brilliant chapters that touches upon every aspect of being trans.

In every chapter, I found myself thinking and learning. Lester argues that it is not merely the absence of knowledge that keeps the truth from being widel
Gunjan | Bookworm Reads
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Trans Like Me by C N Lester is a collection of insightful and thought-provoking arguments about issues like misogyny, transphobia, gender norms, and wrong representation. It’s a great book, to begin with, if you want to understand Transgenders and be a better ally, if you want to understand the difference between gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

This book talks about the abuse, hatred, and the oppressive behavior that has been going on for years towards the Trans
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer
This book is a Bible ( or whatever you may prefer) . Lester's style is so captivating, accessible and clear. I was swept away by their honesty and I could really feel what they were feeling. I felt the rage reading about misconceptions and violences against our trans sisters. I felt betrayed reading about how the lgbt community often cuts off the t. I felt relieved reading some good news. This work is perfect for cis folks and all those willing to learn some more about this kind of topic. I lear ...more
Jennifer S. Brown
My son's high school started a book club for the parents, and I was asked to lead it. The school's theme this year is "inclusion," so I was tasked with finding a book that would lend itself to that theme. I chose Trans Like Me, and I'm so glad I did.

Lester writes about the trans community with clarity, including bits of their own life to add a touch (just a touch) of memoir to the book (and for those of us of a certain age, switching to third person plural for singular pronouns is a matter of b
Edward Taylor
Full disclosure, I am the parent of a trans child and my opinions on this book are mine and mine alone. They do not reflect those of my son or his views on his gender and sexuality. All that being said, I did enjoy some parts of Lester's book about her personal struggles and research into the history of the LBGTQIA "movement" (The quotes are mine as there is no proper way to express or explain the life lead by these persecuted and marginalized humans) but when she starts pushing politics, TERF a ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Starts with the basics and gets progressively more complex (in the good way) as it goes along, so I got more interested as I went. The stuff that is basics was definitely solid though, I now know what to suggest to people as a Trans 101 book.

For me the joy was more in the memoir, the history, the theory, and the solid proof that you really don't need very many jargon words to talk about pretty complicated stuff. Very well-done.
Rhiannon Grant
A really good read which explores these issues in a clear and lively way. Lester's historical background is used to good effect - I especially appreciated their history of gender variance in Western society, as accounts of 'third genders' can sometimes be exoticising/orientalising - and throughout there's a good balance of references to other writers (Lester clearly knows the field inside out) and use of personal experience. It's funny how much a book dates in two years, though; there is an opti ...more
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A much-needed all-encompassing look into the disheartening lives of the transgender community. Not only does this book present sobering analysis but it dispels many myths about the community, many of which have roots in toxic transphobic sentiment and offers a refreshing perspective that when read with humility and an open mind is sure to grant the reader a better understanding of gender and sexuality.
Kristina Carter
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was halfway through this book when I realized it was a book of essays rather than chapters that build on one another. This realization made the second book easier to follow; I was a bit lost initially. Though not a riveting book, Trans Like Me is an important one for those wishing to gain a greater understanding. If you’re like me and didn’t know much, this book provided avgood foundation and insight into how to respect and love the trans community.
Emma Gerts
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This should be compulsory reading for all cis people. Lester writes an informative but moving treatise on the experience of being transgender, genderfluid and nonbinary in the world today. It's tragic, but hopeful, and Lester's writing allows outsiders into a world we cannot imagine.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 maybe, but overall definitely a read I enjoyed, and I liked that it was a mix of perhaps somewhat more academic, or at least source-based writing, as well as bits of personal writing as well.
Isaac R. Fellman
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book with style as well as intellectual and moral seriousness; despite their brevity, these essays have weight.
Allie Vera
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a top-notch primer for anyone who isn't familiar with trans experiences and issues- it's comprehensive, accessible, and careful to acknowledge how intersections affect trans perspectives.
Ryan Mishap
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
An accessible and very good introduction to the issues facing the trans community in society, they use their personal story to illustrate and illuminate day to day interactions and experiences. Highly recommended!
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CN Lester is an academic, writer, musician, and leading LGBTI activist. Co-founder of the UK's first national queer youth organisation, they curate the trans art event Transpose, and work internationally as a trans and feminist educator and speaker. Their work has featured on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, SBS, The Guardian, ABC, The Independent, Newsnight, New Internationalist, and The Toast.

A singer-

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“Gender is who you are, and sexuality is who you want; sexual orientation is who you go to bed with and gender identity is who you go to bed as.” 2 likes
“Part of being trans, of being queer—not all of it, not for all people, but part—is in the re-imagining of what it is to be human. These are categories forged from the failure or refusal to acquiesce to majority rule.” 1 likes
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