Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution” as Want to Read:
Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,742 ratings  ·  263 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, 320 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Seal Press (first published May 6th 2008)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Transgender History, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,742 ratings  ·  263 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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.
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
Omar Abu samra
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very interesting and important book
Samuel Berston
Comprehensive overview of trans liberation movements with a moving final chapter.
Sara Jaye
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, nonfiction
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
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: geschlecht
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  ·  review of another edition
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 R.
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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
Shelves: lgbt, nonfiction
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
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
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
Anthony Chan
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite informative and an excellent launching point into the understanding the transgender struggle.
As other reviewers have noted, sometimes this book is a bit dated. To be honest, that makes me happy - it shows the progress of the last 7 years. It would have been nice to see acknowledgement that 'hermaphrodite' is a pretty unacceptable slur when used in reference to humans. It would have been nice to see more mention of non-binary people. But overall this book does a pretty fantastic job of introducing a heck of a lot of information about trans people and trans issues in an intelligent, inter ...more
Jul 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is the history of all the people that Stryker deems under the umbrella term "transgender" in the USA only. And only in the last 150 years. A tad limiting, but she's mainly attempting to just set up the transgender political movement how it is today and show its immediate history politically. It does it's job. I would think queer history/theory 101 textbook. not fun reading. ...more
Jul 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
an approachable and thought-provoking read contextualizing the struggle for trans* liberation within feminist and LGBT activism ~ I learned from this book that if feminism is truly seeking gender equality, uplifting the rights of trans and non-binary folks MUST be central to this endeavor
Paige McLoughlin
Although the book talks about Transgender history since the early twentieth century the bulk of the narrative is from the 1970s onward. It sort of makes sense. Transgender activism didn't get off the ground until after stonewall. Of course, it mentions some of the first Surgical operations in Weimar
Germany in the twenties and early sources like Hirschfeld who first documented this population in Weimar. It mentions the postwar transition of Christine Jorgenson in the 1940s. Most of the action is
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
We read this book in my Gay History class and I really loved it. It’s enlightening to learn, as a trans person and a queer person in general, how much of our history has been taken from us and/or been silenced by those in power. This book informed me of so many events and individuals that I had no clue existed before I read it. Growing up in the Internet age, you learn about other queer people through interactions with other queer people and through something like a tumblr post or a twitter thre ...more
Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)
This book was packed with information! Some of the more recent history I knew, mostly because I've lived that. But some of the earlier history I didn't know, and a lot of it makes sense in relation to what's currently happening with transgender rights. I highly recommend this as a starting point if you're looking to learn more about transgender history.

There are also a lot of great books and resources in the back of the book for further reading. Definitely looking forward to hopefully diving int
Cynthia Shin
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sarah
An introduction to trans* history in the US. There was many surprising factors like the part on how cross-dressing was illegal and stories about Chelsea Manning. I clearly don't know enough about history nor politics. The chapter on introducing different gender/sex-related concepts was really nice! The book is simple and straightforward.

I hope this would be a starting point of many readings to come :)
Dec 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such an interesting read. I had been looking for a comprehensive history of transgenderism that was actually about transexual individuals and the transexual experience and this volume goes straight to the point.
It gives an incredibly detailed overview of the Movement in the US, useful for "experts", while explaining terms and issues that would be a sort of issue for "newbies" who are just now approaching the subject, just like me.
I really hope I can find such a thing regarding transgen
Miguel Romisio
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great book for beginners and non-beginners in trans issues.

The author starts by discussing terminology related with the LGBTQ+ community and, specifically, with the trans community, and then presents an overview of trans history, highlighting specific moments and the main activists that fought for trans and queer rights in the last 100 years.
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popsugar2021
A great jumping off point for someone who has no experience or knowledge of trans rights. Very informative of the history both far in the past and much more recent in a way that doesn't feel like a non-fiction history book. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
  • Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman
  • The Masker
  • Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us
  • A Safe Girl to Love
  • Trans Like Me: A Journey for All of Us
  • Trans: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability
  • Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones
  • Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity
  • Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity
  • Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man
  • Queer Theory: An Introduction
  • Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex
  • Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
  • Detransition, Baby
  • Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity
  • The Stonewall Reader
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
116 likes · 20 comments
“When people struggling against an injustice have no hope that anything will ever change, they use their strength to survive; when they think that their actions matter, that same strength becomes a force for positive change.” 6 likes
“Many people believe that gender rooted in biology...Many other people understand that gender is more like language than like biology; that is, while they understand us humans to have a biological capacity to use language, they point out we are not born with a hard-wired language "preinstalled" in our brains. Likewise, while we have a biological capacity to identify with and learn to "speak" from a particular location in a cultural gender system, we don't come into the world with a predetermined gender identity.” 4 likes
More quotes…