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Becoming a Visible Man Paperback – June 4, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gender goes beyond chromosomes, a point broadly knowledgeable transgender activist Green makes early in the compelling, immensely readable story of his FTM (female-to-male: Jamie to Jamison) transsexual experience, from which he emerged fortysomething chronologically yet younger than 20 psychosexually as a consequence of biochemical and surgical sex reassignment. In discussing adjustment to a man's body, Green remarks that those whose bodies originally "match their gender identity take their bodies for granted in the process of identity formation"--a luxury "transgendered and transsexual people don't have." Perhaps nontranssexuals may more easily grasp Green's journey from Jamie to Jamison via the concept of realizing personal integrity, and thereby gain immeasurably from his testimony. Meanwhile, they will be educated by Green's detailed descriptions of available transsexual surgeries--he underwent metoidioplasty, the transformation of female genitalia into a male-appearing organ that, sometimes called a micropenis, is significantly smaller than average for penises, though functionally normal--and by his summary of his expenses since 1989 and his comparison of them to the costs of similar procedures today. Whitney Scott
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"Jamison Green tells, with integrity, and in a moving and thoughtful way, his story."
Dallas Denny, Editor, Transgender Tapestry Journal

"An intelligent and engaging book. Jamison Green, an extraordinary activist and advocate for FTM transsexuals, demonstrates that he is also an extraordinary writer. Green artfully blends the personal, the informative, and the political, and grounds it all in a generous vision of inclusive communities. He makes a thoughtful and persuasive case for making gender visible."
Joanne Meyerowitz, author of How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States

"When the premier trans-activist of a generation decides to write a memoir, we should be grateful. When Jamison Green weaves his personal and political experiences into a magnificent story it is all the more reason to celebrate. Becoming a Visible Man shows why he is a leading voice to a generation of transmen and transwomen and why this issue should be on the top of the agenda for all of us in the twenty-first century."
Henry Rubin, author of Self-Made Men

"Jamison Green has given a great gift―based on experience born of a great personal journey, he demystifies gender in a way that transfixes the reader. The biological journey from zygote to adulthood unfolds to challenge the neat little boxes into which our culture drives gender each day. This is an essential contribution to the growing body of literature on gender identity and expression."
Elizabeth Birch, former Executive Director, Human Rights Campaign

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press (June 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082651457X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826514578
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I will highly recommend this book to my female to male transgendered psychotherapy clients and to those interested in learning about this phenomenon. It is an excellent blend of autobiographical, social and political topics. Mr. Green does a great job of taking the reader through his personal struggles with gender, sexual and social identification in an empowering and positive manner, an approach which I have found lacking in many other autobiographies of transgendered individuals. He triumphs over his difficulties of loss of contact with one of his children, shunning by his mother and rapid changes in his body as he attempts to match the outside with the inside of his identity, but allows the reader to know that these victories were not easy. He also provides the female socialized person in a newly male body with an impressive role model for how to learn about male socialization, which I also have not encountered in most works on this subject. Mr. Green does not profess to be an academician, but he obviously has done background reading on this subject, spanning at least 25 years and attempts to use his life stories to support and negate a great deal of medical and mental health literature on the subject of transgenderism and transsexualism. As an individual who started out believing that the journey from female to male bodied would be solely his personal journey, he reminds us of how one person, who becomes inspired to help others, can make such a large difference, clearly beyond what he would have ever anticipated. Max E. Fuhrmann, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist
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Format: Paperback
Jamison Green's book Becoming a Visible Man is easily among my current top choices of trans-related texts. Not only does Green give readers pieces of his own personal experiences (following the trend of many other trans texts), but he also offers accessible, educational, and nuanced arguments around trans issues. In this way, Becoming a Visible Man is not only the story of Green's own personal becoming, but also, and perhaps more importantly, the story of the structures, institutions, and other forces that circumscribe, shape, and color all our becomings. In this vein, I'm confident that this book would appeal to transpeople and non-transpeople alike, both those with none or very little knowledge of trans issues, as well as those with much experience in this area.

While I haven't had the fortune (yet) to be familiar with Green's writings in the FTM Newsletter, I have no doubt that he provided much help and wisdom to its breadth of readers. His writing is balanced and aware of its biases, always mindful of questioning the existing structures of power, and responsible to those with whom he seems himself in community and alliance. By no means does this mean that Green attempts to speak for or about all transpeople or all transmen, or that he understands all transpeople or their experiences to be the same. Rather, Green is quite adamant about the differences between and among transpeople, at the same time that he is clear that we must come together in all our differences to effect true social change. And to his credit, through this all, his author's voice is calm and poetic; a great combination indeed of form and context!

I really could go on at length about the merits of this text...there isn't one thing I didn't like or find useful in its 231 pages.
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Format: Paperback
So - why Jamison Green's Becoming a Visible Man? For starters, it's a good read. James writes to be read, unlike a lot of writers on trans experience or in gender theory. Since my "audience" comes mostly from the MTF end of things, I also think it's vital for us to educate ourselves as to what the experiences are from those on the other side of the fence. Having run FTM International for a million years, James has more than his own experience to rely upon for this book - he has head the stories of thousands of FTMs, from those that embrace a more genderqueer radical place, to those who wish, simply, to pass well enough so they can marry and mow their lawn on Saturdays.

Becoming a Visible Man was also a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and won the CLAGS book award.
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Format: Paperback
I was educated, inspired and deeply moved by this book, which is not only a remarkable chronicle of Jamison Green's life, but a compelling argument for individual human rights. The specific information about the process of transition from a female to a male body is fascinating, and bound to be helpful to anyone considering FTM surgery. But from my perspective ( 55-year-old married heterosexual female), the book speaks to a much wider audience. Too many people in today's world let fear make our decisions for us, and many opportunities for authenticity are missed as a result. This book is a clarion call for anyone who dreams of naming and claiming her true self. I recommend it without reservation.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book to read if you are interested in any dimension at all of the transgendered experience. It is, first, a well-written story of a life spent becoming what Jamison truly was, male. But it also is the story of all of that life, from childhood, through adolescence, adulthood, parenthood, and self-hood. But beside being a very readable memoir, it fully addresses all the other components of being transgendered.
It is, secondly, a comprehensive review of all the physical dimensions of changing gender as well as addressing all the administrative complications. For example, changing your birth certificate, so you can change your drivers license, so if you get pulled over by the police, they don't read gender=female when you have a beard and moustache. All the complications you would never think about if you haven't been there.
Then thirdly, there is the politics of transgender. As with any aspect of life, there's the battle for who represents you. Who speaks for you. And Jamison has done a wonderful job of speaking for FTM persons and for allowing the readers to understand the complexities of that arena.
It is a well-designed book (Vanderbilt University Press), well-edited with an index and a comprehensive bibliography.
I would recommend this book to anyone with any curiosity about life whatsoever.
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