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Trans Like Me: A Journey for All of Us

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,520 ratings  ·  241 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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 ·  1,520 ratings  ·  241 reviews

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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
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
Mariana Afonso | Books Of My Own

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
priya ☁️
"How can it be that both trans people and the journalists who write about us believe ourselves to be talking about the same subject, and yet have such wildly different beliefs, words, and ways of speaking?"

"We go on television, then try to protect ourselves from the inevitable abuse that follows, because we hope to be heard by the people who would never dream of watching an online news show produced by trans people. And we become complicit in the machine, knowing that if other people had not don
Chelsea DeMasters
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Common sense tells us that the trans experience is no walk in the park, but I was unprepared for just how bad it is. This book is startling. It’s painful to read and difficult to fully imagine. I came to this book because I have a total blindspot when it comes to the transgender experience - I have no grasp on the magnitude of the problems faced nor how pervasive and oppressive. I have no first hand knowledge and personally know no one who identifies as trans. I am woefully under-educated and ne ...more
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
Blakeney Clark
Jun 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thought-provoking, intelligently written and often surprising, this book does a good job of explaining all the different ways in which the world is built on the flawed assumption of a gender binary and how trans people can be misunderstood and discriminated against within it. I especially liked the Narnia allusion Lester uses to challenge people who don't want to believe in trans identity.

As the professor says to Susan and Peter,"There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling
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. ...more
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.
Reef Landrum
Mar 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic introduction to what it means to be transgender, and to many of the current issues and controversies surrounding the topic. The writing is generally friendly and easy to understand, although some people new to ideas relating to social justice may need to look up a few things. You definitely don't have to be an experienced academic to understand what Lester is saying.

This book really mentions almost everything, and can be used as a starting point to dive deeper into a range of differe
Sep 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-reads
This was a really interesting and well-written book, covering various aspects of the topic, including the author's own personal story (whom I had not heard of till I picked up the audiobook). I loved their warm open-hearted approach, while pulling no punches.

Some of the topics must have been difficult to write about and make sense of, and to write about sensitively and openly, and CN Lester did a great job in that respect. They backed up some of what they wrote about with a certain amount of res
I thought the first half of this was really helpful for me to read, as it answered some questions I had and helped me see things from a trans POV. The second half was interesting but definitely went over my head at times. I think the author tried really hard to incorporate trans history, activism, feminism, politics, and all the things, which sometimes made the writing feel a little convoluted (to me--to someone more well-versed on these subjects, it may have felt very different). As the first b ...more
Cian Aherne
Oct 02, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This is a vital world-changing book. For anyone with any questions or curiosities about what being trans means. Should be shared far and wide, really incredible stuff.
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. ...more
Apr 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
This helped me understand so much and yet I still have so many more questions this unearthed! (In a good way.)
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
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
Flavie Flora
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
May 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This book is powerful and so important to read. There isn't a better time than now to pick up this book, *especially if you're a parent!* The statistic from this book that has me losing sleep is that 57% of trans youth without a supportive adult in their life will attempt suicide at least once. That's compared with 4% of trans youth that do have a supportive adult. This book will help you be that supportive adult, not just to your kids, but to all kids in your life.

Regardless of what perspectiv
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
Andy Mitchell
Oct 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
I feel like I learned a lot from this one. I enjoyed the writing and I got the feeling that the author had clearly put a lot of thought into each chapter. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on trans people that existed throughout history and how the gender binary isn't as "traditional" as one might expect with the author giving many examples in different periods of people who were seen as outside the gender norm. I found the chapter on transfeminism to be a very thought-provoking one, I think I ...more
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CN Lester is a multi-genre musician, author of the critically-acclaimed Trans Like Me, and founder and artistic director of arts event Transpose. CN is a singer-songwriter, classical singer, deviser, and composer. They hold an interdisciplinary performance/research PhD on composer Barbara Strozzi; research interests include performance and composition, gender and music, and the history of gender a ...more

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