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The Lives of Transgender People Paperback – November 15, 2011
2016 Book Awards
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This book's greatest strengths are twofold: it outlines a wide diversity of gender identities that step outside of previous identity markers, including the experiences of young genderqueer people, and it contributes to research on trans people, which has been very out of date.(Arlene Istar Lev, University of Albany, School of Social Welfare, and Choices Counseling and Consulting)
The authors have done an excellent job of using up-to-date references and the text is reflective of current trends.(Gerald P. Mallon, Hunter College School of Social Work, City University of New York, and author of Social Work Practice with Transgender and Gender Variant Youth)
With their substantial empirical study, Genny Beemyn and Susan R. Rankin have accomplished what no other research has managed to do: through numerical analysis and narrative, they have represented the diversity of transgender people, explored in depth the range of experiences of these communities, and described the challenges many of us face. The Lives of Transgender People is an invaluable reference for researchers, activists, and policymakers.(Paisley Currah, Brooklyn College, City University of New York)
The Lives of Transgender People breaks new ground.(The Empty Closet)
...this book serves as an excellent resource for those wishing to know more about transgender experiences, as well as those endeavoring to highlight the challenges these communities continue to face in everyday life.(GLAAD Blog)
Lives will be a rich source of data for activists, theorists, and policymakers, as well as one possible model for doing research on sex and gender that allows us to collect meaningful data without depending on the binary male/female, man/woman dichotomies that continue to unhelpfully reduce the variety of human experience to the inflexible straightjackets of innate gender difference.(Feminist Librarian Blog)
About the Author
Genny Beemyn, the director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is a leading expert on the experiences of transgender people in the United States and on the development of transgender-inclusive college policies and practices. A gender nonconforming individual, Dr. Beemyn has published and spoken extensively on the needs of transgender students, and hir publications include Creating a Place for Ourselves: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Histories and Queer Studies: A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Anthology.
Susan (Sue) Rankin is an associate professor at The Pennsylvania State University and a senior research associate at the Center for the Study of Higher Education. She has presented and published widely on the impact of sexism, racism, genderism, and heterosexism in the academy and intercollegiate athletics. Her recent publications include the 2010 State of Higher Education for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People and Our Place on Campus: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Services and Programs in Higher Education.
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Top Customer Reviews
Fortunately, the authors use the term transgender in it's broadest meaning. One surprising result of their study is expressed as follows: "In our survey, respondents offered more than a hundred different descriptions for their gender identity besides the traditional categories of men, women, and transgender." Many, or perhaps most, of these unique categories are somewhere under the relatively new category genderqueer.
This is the most difficult of all for those of us who have spent much of our lives in a binary world. We understand male and female. We may even understand transition from female to male or male to female, although it may be outside our personal experience. It is the hundreds of "in-between" genders that are difficult to understand. If you share this puzzlement, "Nina Here Nor There" by Nick Krieger (available at Amazon.com) is an outstanding book by a transgender writer whose experience places them firmly in the genderqueer category somewhat on the male side of the middle between male and female.
Authors Beemyn and Rankin do a pretty good job of explaining this category through exposition and anecdotal segments quoted from survey participants. The size of their survey group (about 3500 respondents) provides a higher statistical probability to their conclusions. The breadth of their survey - incorporating diversity in gender, ethnicity, race, and religion - further validates that transgender is endemic to all populations.
I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand the path our transgender friends have taken - or will take - in their lives.
By casting a wide net and allowing people to self-identify, the authors include voices often not heard in other studies, particularly among young people. It doesn't hurt that at least one of the authors also identifies as a member of the transgender community herself.
For more, please visit my blog, CozyLittleBookJournal.
Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.