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Just Add Hormones: An Insider's Guide to the Transsexual Experience Paperback – June 1, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Alas, it ain't that simple--that is, just adding hormones, stirring, then coming out on the other side of gender. Fortunately, Kailey explores the complexities of the female-to-male (ftm) transition he, then 42, started in 1997. Raised in a traditional two-parent home with a stay-at-home mom, he recounts the details of his change, including chest surgery, and options open to male-to-females (mtfs) as well as the more complicated, expensive surgeries now available to ftms (whose numbers, he notes, approximately equal those of mtfs). The self-proclaimed "transman" also explores the internal changes as he deals with gender resocialization, "passing" in the initial stages of transition, blending masculine and feminine personality traits in the new persona, and navigating postchange medical care (Kailey raised some eyebrows in his gynecologist's office when arriving for his pap smear). Including a list of definitions helpful for negotiating the world of trans-speak, this book is a natural for the gender issues shelves. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Parts of Just Add Hormones dwell, wittily, on the author's own experiences . . . other chapters offer a cheeky insider's discussion of pesky pronouns, pants-packing, bathroom blues, and on-the-job jitters. But the real worth of Just Add Hormones stems from its thoughtful analysis-at times philosophical, at times political, and at times polemical-of a life-changing decision.--Richard Labonte, Q Syndicate

"A heartfelt plea for mainstream American society to understand, accept and support gender diversity . . . Kailey describes all with frankness, engaging his reader with honesty and a touch of humor."
-Kirkus Reviews

"This book is a natural for the gender issues shelves."
-Booklist

"Anyone who has ever contemplated, is just curious about, or finds him or herself in the midst of gender transformation will appreciate and applaud this extraordinary, comprehensive journal. Both informative and quite fascinating, Kailey delivers his life story with a compassionate eye and a true heart."--Jim Piechota, Bay Area Reporter

"This is the perfect primer for those of us with transsexual friends and loved ones, those on their own path of self-discovery, and those who simply have questions about it all. For all of us, Kailey has the answers." --Michael Thomas Ford, author of My Big, Fat, Queer Life

"Just Add Hormones successfully transcends the great gender divide. It has a little something for everyone, no matter your gender or lack of one. Matt Kailey paints an accurate and entertaining landscape of transsexual life."--Kate Bornstein, author of My Gender Workbook
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Reprint edition (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807079596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807079591
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matt Kailey is an award-winning author, blogger, professor, and transgender community activist. He began his transition from female to male in 1997, and since then, he has educated, enlightened, and entertained audiences across the United States and the world through his writing and presentations focusing on transgender issues. He has appeared in five documentary films and is the recipient of four community awards for activism. His book "Just Add Hormones: An Insider's Guide to the Transsexual Experience" was a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and his short story "Cam's Decision" was the recipient of the Poets & Writers Inc. Writers Exchange Award for fiction.

Matt's latest book, "Teeny Weenies and Other Short Subjects," is a collection of humorous essays about his life before and after transition. He is also working on a series of short books offering "10 Tips" for those involved with trans people. The first of these, "My Child is Transgender - 10 Tips for Parents of Adult Trans Children," is available now on Kindle.

Matt is also a part-time college-level psychology instructor and teaches his own class, "Writing Your Gender," offering college students a chance to explore their own gender through the art of personal essay.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
So often booka written about a lived experience can frustate and even alienate. The reader is made to feel like an outsider.

I am pleased to say that JUST ADD HORMONES does't only reach out, it embraces. All the awkward and intimate questions about what it means to be trans are answered. It's an INSIDER guide but it is not cliquey. It is personal but it is not embarrassing. It is funny and smart and warm.

Recommonded reading for anyone of any gender. So says this man.
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Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a better understanding of the trangendered and transsexual (particularly transmen). As a man in transition, I feel as if Matt Kailey has been reading my mind (or my journal), and he also gave me an idea of what's ahead for me. I have recommended it to all my friends who want to learn more about this part of my life. Good job, Matt.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a good read. Overall a decent source of information on FTM and gender reassignment in general. The writer is very unique. Very interesting life story. It's somewhat of a page turner. It talks about how to tell your family and the phases the family will go through as you transition. I read this book and then gave it to my Mom to read with the hopes it would give her some understanding of gender transition. Not what I expected but overall a great book on the topic of transition. I would recommend this book to all FTM, anyone transitioning, or anyone that wants a look into the wonderful world of gender bending. Details the difference between changing gender in general and how the word "sex" is misconceived when the word transsexual is used. I would recommend this book for anyone's library.
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Format: Hardcover
Denver transman Matt Kailey and I must be about the same age, but we came to this space of manhood by such different paths. I picked up his book in order to help myself navigate my way around the many brilliant and varied genders of San Francisco, where every other person you meet on the scene is doing something about gender, not just sitting there and taking it. Consequently, as Kailey realizes, we sometimes don't know even the basic rules of etiquette when it comes to this new frontier. And, in addition, I was drawn by the pastel cover illustration, so apt and so clever. You might not be able to see it well in the reduced image but when you get the book you'll see it's apparently a woman diving into a large chemical test tube vat thing of a pearly blue liquid, and there's a man in it, his pose diametrically opposite and yet strangely synchronous to the woman above him. This is an allegory, I suppose, for Kailey's life, which changed gradually and organically and now he is--well, what? "What's in a name" indeed, that becomes one of the chapters, one that tells us, in simple to follow anecdotes and stories, how even the terms that we use to describe others and especially ourselves are like windows that open out into the light, or else separate us from the outside world.

Actually Kailey argues against the notion of the opposite, Uf it weren't for our fixation with binary gender style, so that "men" and "women" are supposed to be complete 180 degree opposites of each other, we wouldn't be in the terrible social mess we are now.

So maybe that front cover image isn't so cool after all.

He compares a particularly trying part of his transition to that "gray zone" that you get between sleeping and being awake.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is great for anyone who wants to get a first-person perspective on female-to-make gender transition - obviously Matt Kailey doesn't speak for everyone, but his experience gives a good idea of what it's like. I especially appriciated his take on gender stereotypes and gendered expectations - as a man he was no longer "allowed" to show certain emotions (like telling someone that their new baby was "so adorable" because this is seen as unmasculine) or the observation that after having chest surgery he is now allowed to walk around without a shirt, something that he certainly wouldn't have been able to do beforehand.
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Format: Paperback
I've had great admiration for author Matt Kailey ever since stumbling onto his incredibly informative blog, Tranifesto. He is a gay transman who transitioned from female to male (FTM) in his early 40s and is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and compassionate writer. Although he incorporates some autobiographical material into this book, it's more a collection of chapters on different aspects of the transsexual experience: mind, identity, body, sexuality, and the changes he hopes will come about in society as a whole. He says, "The most beautiful thing about being a transsexual person is being able to experience the world in two genders.... There's a world out there that could mightily benefit from what we have to offer, and that in and of itself might be the reason that we exist."

He admits that a transman (due to the strong influence of testosterone) can generally assimilate more easily into the larger culture than many transwomen (MTF) can. But assimilation--although tempting for personal reasons--doesn't change society for the better. Through this book and via his consulting work, Kailey works to educate others into a greater understanding and acceptance of trans, gay, lesbian, and bisexual civil rights.

For anyone interested in autobiographical information beyond the scope of this book, I'd recommend Kailey's volume of personal essays written after Just Add Hormones, Teeny Weenies: And Other Short Subjects.
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