- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: NYU Press (June 2, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1479855405
- ISBN-13: 978-1479855407
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #745,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? Hardcover – June 2, 2017
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"[R]efreshing. Davis situates the struggle for transgender dignity and rights squarely within the larger framework of personal freedom and privacy concerns, and shows how removing institutional barriers to living beyond the gender binary can help everyone live fuller, freer lives."-Reason Magazine
"In a lively and accessible style, Davis questions the administrative and social practices of labeling individuals’ sex or gender solely in correspondence with the binary categories of female or male. He challenges the validity of sex-identifying documents and sex-segregated facilities or institutions—even competitive sports—as solutions to privacy, safety, or equality. This is a thought-provoking and highly relevant subject, perfect for today’s political and cultural debates."-Jamison Green,author of Becoming a Visible Man
"Davis’s solution-oriented Beyond Trans is a necessary voice in current debates about the administration of sex and transgender identity. From the infamous bathroom bills to cis citizens’ objection to financing the medical expenses of trans military personnel (the specter of which Donald Trump backhandedly invoked during his transgender ban tweets), to women’s colleges determining that sex-segregation and defining the boundaries of womanhood were necessary to a feminist project of education, Davis’s book offers applicable solutions and applies the knowledge gained from the positionality of trans, intersex, and non-binary viewpoints."-Los Angeles Review of Books
"Reading Beyond Trans is like having one’s window shades thrown open after arising from a long night of sleep: the sunlight burns the eyes, but it awakens them . . . Beyond Trans features accessible, clear prose and direct argumentation. Anyone with an interest in trans rights and the public application of gender theory would benefit from Davis’ book. Beyond Trans is as much a call to remediate the harm done to trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming individuals as it is a plea for good reasoning."-Popmatters.com
"We will soon be reading books that are truly new, indeed revolutionary, in arguing that the future of gender will be the end of gender binaries altogether. How can future writers debate ‘essential sex differences’ when there are more than two sexes, or when some women and men who choose to become the other, and when some people want to be both – or neither? Heath Fogg Davis’s Beyond Trans: Does gender matter?, one of the first among many that I am sure are in the pipeline, invites readers to question why we care so much about labels and categories on drivers’ licences, passports and bathroom doors, and in sports and schools."-Times Literary Supplement
"Both clear-eyed and eye-opening, Beyond Trans challenges all of us—gender-nonconforming and cisgender, trans and gender-conforming, individuals and organizations—to ask ourselves why and how we are using sex classifications, what harm they might be doing, and just how they’re even defining ‘sex.’ A provocative and compelling book."-Joshua Gamson,author of Modern Families: Stories of Extraordinary Journeys to Kinship
"Davis constantly challenges the value of forcing people to adhere to a binary, successfully arguing that the problems far outweigh the benefits."-BUST.com
"Davis's book is the quintessential transgender issue primer."-Plentitude Magazine
"Davis argues that current precedent that restricts discriminating against people on the basis of gender could be used to challenge laws or practices that discriminate against people perceived as falling outside the gender binary. More broadly, we can all work toward a change in perspective. Demanding that people conform to stereotypes of masculinity or femininity does everybody harm. So instead of trying to fit more people into society’s preexisting categories, we might try rethinking whether we need those categories at all."-Quartz.com
"Readers may not agree with all of Davis's conclusions, but his method of discerning rational relationships provides a helpful way to create conversations about whether a particular instance of sex segregation is legitimate or problematic. It encourages us to become far more reflective about when and why we believe sex needs to be marked and managed."-Christian Century
About the Author
Heath Fogg Davis is Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is the author of The Ethics of Transracial Adoption.
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This is an excellent and thought-provoking discussion about the failings of a binary system to meet the needs of transgender, intersex and non gender-conforming individuals. By examining the effects of mandating binary gender identification on documents like drivers licenses, bus passes, college applications, FAFSAs, or in places like restrooms, or in sports participation, people with complex gender identity are placed in difficult (if not impossible) and sometimes even dangerous situations.
From the absurd unfairness of sex-marked bus passes to the unfairly personal demands of birth sex-mandated bathrooms, from women's colleges to sex-segregated sports, Beyond Trans takes us on a journey that probably just scratches the surface of what any transgendered, or non-gender conforming person has to endure.
One example Fogg Davis presents for our consideration is that of Coy, a five year old transgender girl who would like to use a girls bathroom in her elementary school. Told she can't or to use a teacher's bathroom, her family sues and wins. Now let's fast forward to puberty. To forestall development of secondary sex characteristics until legal adulthood, Coy's parents may allow her pediatrician to prescribe hormone blockers. (This will allow her to decide at age 18 what she wants to do about surgery, hormonal treatments, etc.) Now fast forward to age 18. In addition to making all these important personal medical decisions, imagine Coy wants to apply to a historic women's college like Smith or Mt Holyoke. Coy has lived 13 of her 18 years, virtually all of her life she will clearly recollect, as a female. Will she be admitted? Some schools might still refuse her. Some institutions like Mt Holyoke have sought to embrace individuals "identifying as female," albeit with a long list of clarifiers. But is this enough? (Indeed, this particular case made me contemplate just how long we expect someone to be female to be female and how ridiculously unfair it is.)
Just the idea that often someone has to complete radical surgery to be able to get "certified" as a sex different from that on their original birth certificates gives me pause. Having known a transgender woman who chose not to complete full transition surgery because she just isn't sure she wants more surgery, I just can't accept how unfair the situation is. Do we really need to know if she's 100% female because she has no trace of male genitalia? SMH. The argument for biometric identification on drivers licenses, metro passes and other documents in lieu of sex markers sounds like a good one to me, even with its potential risks. But, based on dinner table debates of the entire topic, many sadly have a long way to go before relinquishing their binary world view.
This is a slender volume of 192 pages of which only about 52% is discussion. An appendix offers a thorough Gender Audit for institutions. I happily bought a copy of the book to be able to share it.