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She's Not the Man I Married: My Life with a Transgender Husband Paperback – February 15, 2007

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She's Not the Man I Married: My Life with a Transgender Husband + Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (February 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580051936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580051934
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

I've been preparing myself to lose my husband for the past few years," observes Boyd in this humorous, self-deprecating follow-up to her first memoir, My Husband Betty. "There is another woman, in a sense. My husband is that other woman, or might become her." Delving deeply into the question of gender identity, she explores the role of gender and its impact on how and who we love. Boyd, an androgynous-looking heterosexual woman (often mistaken for a lesbian), is married to a heterosexual man, who for the past few years has been "presenting as female" most of the time." Betty hasn't yet decided to have "the surgery," while Boyd isn't sure she'd be able to stay in the relationship if Betty does fully "transition" into being a woman. When referring to Betty, Boyd switches back and forth from "he" to "she"—even within the same sentence—portraying the confusion that a "trans person" presents daily in defining gender. Though she covers her complex topic well, and even includes a chapter of sex advice, Boyd's attempts to conceptualize her experience are unnecessarily repetitive. Part love story, part psychological treatise and part cautionary tale, this book will speak most directly to those who are confronting gender's perplexing contradictions. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"I'd consider My Husband Betty essential reading, but even for the educated and seasoned, it is an amazing resource that delves deep into the issues-cultural, political, sexual, historical, psychological-facing crossdressers, their partners, and the various communities they intersect... the work simultaneously transcends crossdressing altogether. It becomes a blueprint for nontraditional relationships: how to communicate honestly about needs and desires, let go of white-picket-fence dreams, and move beyond them to something real." -- Tristan Taormino

More About the Author

Helen Boyd is the author of My Husband Betty (Thunder's Mouth, 2004) and She's Not the Man I Married (Seal Press, 2007). She lives in Brooklyn with her partner Betty and their three cats. Her blog (en)gender can be found at

Customer Reviews

This book is smart, articulate, and heart-wrenchingly honest.
J. Weller-Fahy
This book, Helen Boyd's second and a sort-of sequel to "My Husband Betty," is the beautifully written story of Helen's journey alongside her transgendered husband.
S. K. Steiner
If you're interested in gender studies, or you have a transgender spouse, this book will provide some eye-opening insights.
Silvia Bridger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 70 people found the following review helpful By D. B. Perrin on February 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is about Helen Boyd's experiences and feelings as she watches her husband heading along the trans path. It is an open, honest self-searching wherein she lays herself bare. Throughout I could feel her anger; anger at society's ignorance concerning trans issues, anger at Betty for stealing away her beautiful husband, and anger at herself for her anger. I could feel her frustration at the lack of understanding, so apparent, on the part of society at large concerning gender and the issues it presents.

This book is also about love; Helen and Betty's deep love for each other, a love which has held them together at a time when most others would have long ago separated.

The book consists of a preface and a section of notes on language, pronouns and taxonomy, followed by seven chapters and a final note from Betty. Throughout, the author often amplifies a word or phrase by reference to notes on each chapter which are contained at the back of the book. Although the trans reader probably doesn't need to refer to these notes, no doubt other readers will.

When I read a non-fiction book I generally flag what appear to me to be quotable quotes. I usually end up with five or so. When I had finished reading this book I counted twenty-two! If you have read other reviews I have written, you know that I usually include one or two of what I consider to be the most meaningful of them. I am not going to do that here.

One thing for sure, Helen Boyd has a very firm grasp of trans issues. For example in Chapter One, Girl Meets Boy, she says, "But the one thing you learn when you hang out with someone who might be transsexual is that almost nothing is more important than gender; not relationships, not children, not employment, not career goals or financial stability.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Christine on July 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
I get it. Gender is variable. Next!

I really wanted to like this book. I have gender issues and I am not sure where they will end up, and I also have a wife who has her own anxieties about this. Reading the reviews of this book it would be a really good book to educate her (and me) about the trans issue and the ways in which partners are commonly affected by it. Now I don't want her anywhere near it. The book IS educational, and can be quite witty, but is also quite overwhelming, perhaps because so many issues are brought up all at once. The seven chapters promise different facets of this issue (social, biology, our experience, etc), but I struggle to recall how one was different from another. Many issues are covered throughout the book . . . but they are covered as an intertwined theme throughout the entire book instead of one at a time. If the themes were teased apart and presented in separate chapters, it would be far easier to take them onboard instead of constantly wondering what this repetition of "gender is a continuum" is supposed to be telling me that is different to the previous one? and the one before that? If the book fell apart into 3-4 page leaflets, we could get the entire message from any one leaflet

I also take issue, perhaps unfairly, with the usefulness of the text for others. I wanted myself and my partner to read this to gain insight into how being trans and/or TS may affect us and our marriage. I would hazard a guess that we are typical of the target audience, and the major reason for the book. However Helen and Betty's situation is far from typical. They both have hormonal issues that have made it somewhat easier to at least begin this part of their journey, and accept what it says about their own sexualities/genders.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By akaKatie on April 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Helen Boyd's willingness to peel back the lid and let us in on both the struggles and love in her relationship with Betty will resonate deeply for anyone on the gender and sexual spectrum who has felt frustration with the assumed gender roles in their own romantic relationships.

Particularly for partners of trans people, Helen's articulation of her experience is a resounding validation of what many partners think and feel in complete isolation. She offers no easy answers, but her ability and willingness to lay herself and her relationship bare is a gift she has given both to the trans community, and to anyone on the gender spectrum attempting a life-long partnership.

A life and a marriage in mid-transition is a difficult thing to capture, but Helen holds the flickering image in her palm gently and opens it to share with us. Anyone will be honored and awed by this intimate view of a relationship, captured by a talented and articulate voice.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Trans-Active on May 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Read with her previous book, My Husband Betty-- which is a wonderful work-- She's Not the Man I Married continues to follow the complex growth and partnership of a woman who has become one of the most important voices in transgender activism today. In both books, Helen Boyd discusses the complex cultural "baggage" that is imposed on crossdressers and on transgender people and communities generally, and traces what it has meant for her to become an active part of transgender communities. This is a book that challenges transphobia in important ways, without shying away from difficult questions and her own powerful emotions and conflicts.

Just as important, both her books treat Betty, her partner and her subject, with love, kindness... and as an equal deserving of our respect.

This is a book that goes well alonside with Transgender Rights.

Transgender Rights
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