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True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism--For Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals Paperback – March 24, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1st edition (March 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787967025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787967024
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"I would strongly recommend this book as a primer for anyone interested in this topic." (Archives of Sexual Behavior, 35:2)

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Customer Reviews

I couldn't stop crying the first time I read this book.
Angela Moreau
If you have a friend or family member who is transgender, this book will help you understand what they are going through.
Silvia Bridger
This book will open some avenues of thought that will help everyone.
K. Johansen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 138 people found the following review helpful By W.E.B. on January 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book gives a relatively good overall view of transsexualism for people who know nothing about it, but with some serious flaws. The author's descriptions of the experience are based entirely on accounts from therapy clients and her approach is objective, too much so in many regards. She presents outdated information without any genuine effort to refute it, such as the old freudian psycho-model of "gender identity disorder." She also mentions the horrid "treatments" visited on transsexuals, such as "aversion therapy" and "shock treatments" with no mention of their obvious cruel inhumanity. Her statement that we can't "change the brain," is downright sickening, and she presents it as though science should actually strive toward that Stepford Wives solution to transsexualism.

In some cases, the author makes broad generalizations, giving the impression that they apply to all transsexuals. For example, she makes the assertion that most transsexuals come to the realization of their status only after reaching some "turning point," such as debilitating depression. I don't know of any accurate statistics, but her failure to point out those who experienced what Jamison Green spoke of in his book "Becoming a Visible Man" (lighting candle after candle in dark cave), may leave readers with the wrong impression. For some transsexuals, the realization slowly dawns over the course of a lifetime and the decision to seek transition isn't connected to some personal crisis.

Her vehement support of the arbitrary Standards of Care guidelines and assertion that "the system works" suggests a certain level of ignorance of the big picture. Where she mentions those who view therapists as gatekeepers, she gives the impression that she thinks they are being unreasonable.
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42 of 44 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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30 of 32 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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12 of 12 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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26 of 30 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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