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True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism--For Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals Hardcover – October 7, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Brown and Rounsley's solidly based introduction to many aspects of living as a transsexual provides general information about the dilemma of feeling trapped in the wrong physical gender, about such a person's development, and about locating a gender therapist. Brown and Rounsley also detail the process of transition between genders, starting with legal and identity changes and proceeding to changing outward modes of self-presentation (they include sample "coming-out" letters to employers, coworkers, friends, and family members) and dealing with bathroom issues, hormone treatments, surgical options, and guidelines for finding social support. First-person accounts from transsexuals augment general readability and put human faces on the issues discussed. Whitney Scott

Review

"Thorough and comprehensive. This is a serious and important book. If you know a transsexual, care about a transsexual or are interested in understanding transsexuality, then True Selves should be on your reading list."

"Provides a useful introduction to the transsexual phenomenon for the practicing psychiatrist who may be unfamiliar with this particular sexual minority." (Wynelle Snow, M.D., Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists)

"A useful volume to have as a reference for those trying to gain some understanding of being transexxual [or] for those desiring to understand this in a friAnd or family member." (Wynelle Snow, M.D., Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1st edition (October 7, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787902713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787902711
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a MTF Transsexual in the process of transitioning, I have found comming out to my family to be the most difficult hurdle to overcome. Especially my father. All the literature available to help family and friends understand the plight of the transsexual is very clinical. It does not get to the core of who I am, and the excruciating pain I've endured everyday of my life. I purchased this book hoping it would explain to the non-transsexual what it means to be me. This book meets that challenge head-on. I was particularly impressed by the chapters covering Childhood, Adolescence, and Adulthood. I read those chapters and felt as though I was reading from my own journals. That someone had written my biography. If you are a transsexual trying to find a way to come out to family and friends, or you are the family and friends of a transsexual who just came out to you, I highly recommend this book. I am going to have a copy of this book for my father to read the day I come out to him.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is a very useful book to anyone just beginning to try to understand the concept of transsexualism. It is carefully written, without technical medical descriptions, and balances well between biographical/autobiographical material and factual information. It is neither sensationalist or syrupy, but does convey the difficulties faced by transsexual individuals in the various stages of their lives. For this reason, I would recommend it to anyone recently identifying as transsexual who needs an introductory text for those around them. The title states it is for "families, friends, co-workers and helping professionals" and indeed it is eminently suitable for these groups. As a transsexual man myself, I have two copies which I have lent to people including my father who found it very helpful, and my therapist and have purchased a further copy for my partner's family. Three copies must be a fair recommendation of a book! I find its layout logical and appropri! ! ate, beginning as it does with some basic facts about the subject, leading on to how it affects the individuals in various stages of their lives - childhood, teen years and adulthood. It then goes on to deal with the nuts and bolts of therapy, transition, surgical options and coming out and ends with some biographical text. It covers both male to female and female to male aspects well, where many other texts focus primarily on the male to female route. It is also relatively apolitical - many other texts on the subject tend to have their information tied up with a significant political element which can make them in my opinion difficult for those new to the subject to read. All in all it is one of the best books I have on transsexualism. The only one in my collection which is sufficiently similar to compare is Trans-X-u-all (O'Keefe and Fox) which, while it is a good book, is not such a good introductory text as this.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By xydonna@aol.com on February 2, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I've read a number of books describing transsexualism, hoping to find the right one to give to people as I tell them about my own transition. When I read this one, I knew this was it, and I told my parents about myself within the week. They have since told me that this book was essential to their understanding of my condition. I believe the authors have provided an invaluable resource for anyone whose life is touched by knowing a transsexual person.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Coleman Yee on April 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've never had any personal encounters with transsexuals before and am not one myself, so my personal opinion of transsexualism was based on ignorance and second-hand opinions. I read this book out of pure curiosity.
Reading this book opened my eyes to the plight of what transsexuals have to go through, all throughout their lives. It also helped me see things from a different perspective.
The book is readible and sensitive, seeking for understanding rather than trying to defend.
I thus recommend this book to anyone who cares enough to try to understand the fellow human being, even though that fellow human being may be "different".
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Berger on July 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
The primacy of True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism is an unfortunate artifact of there existing no other good resource books for the non-trans person to understand the trans experience. It was written in the mid-1990s with an understanding of trans people and trans experiences that is strongly based in the clinical data of that time... clinical data which was, unfortunately, corrupted by the fact that transgendered people at that time had to lie extensively to transition, reading from a "script" of a generic, transgendered past that seldom was truthful about their real selves, and lie pervasively after transition, creating a "gender consistent" (read: cissexual female) history. Particularly, transsexual women who were gay had to lie about feeling like heterosexual girls their entire lives, opening us up to accusations of "autogynephilia" - the ridiculous claim that trans women who are attracted to other women were "really" attracted to images of ourselves as women.

It is not for nothing that one transsexual woman who transitioned in the early 1980s described the process as "lying to tyrannical fools to save [her] life."

It is my hope that sometime soon, there will be published a modern book that talks openly and honestly about the transition and transgender experience, that is written with both clinical and real-world experience taken into account, that can finally put this tome on a dusty shelf where it belongs.

Until then... it is what we have.
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