- Paperback: 376 pages
- Publisher: AuthorHouse (October 8, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1410772411
- ISBN-13: 978-1410772411
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,628,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"A must read for teachers, counselors and therapists and anyone else who knows and loves someone dealing with trans issues." -- -Suzanne Iasenza, PhD; Associate Professor, John Jay
"I loved this book! What an incredible journey! unique and empowering. It'll make a great movie!" -- Ru Paul, Performer/Author 'Lettin it all hang out'
"This expansive, raw memoir offers a glimpse into the struggle for individual survival. Its a story that must be heard." -- -Leslie Feinberg, activist and author of Stone Butch Blues, Transgender Warriors, and Trans liberation
"from the flesh bars of Broadway to Graduate School,from shame to self-confidence. I hung on every word." -- -Dallas Denny, Editor, Transgender Tapestry magazine 2003
Blumensteins account of her life interwoven with the dynamics of her experience are riveting in an age of fly-on-the-wall entertainment -- Dr Tracie OKeefe DCH 2003/ clinical hypnotherapist, psychotherapist & counsellor and the co-editor of Finding the Real Me: True Tales of Sex & Gender Diversity.
From the Publisher
There are many books now about the transgender experience by queer activists, writers and people from the trans communities.
But there is no book like this, ever!
BRANDED T crosses that line from sensationalism and the queer genre to main stream society.
BRANDED T intersects an informal education with academic attainment. It reviews and re-thinks the hierarchy of oppression as well as entertains utilizing language that is understandable and intimate.
Top customer reviews
Spending her late teens and twenties as a sex worker and hard-core drug user, the author experienced a good deal of trauma, including sexual assault and the tragic deaths of family and friends. In a state of emotional discord, she made several suicide attempts before finally coming to terms with her drug addiction and eventually, her gender issues. She enrolled in college, went on to graduate school, and eventually became a psychotherapist, initially becoming even more closeted about her past, frightened about people finding out her transgender history; internalized shame spawning a viscous cycle of her own transphobia.
Even years after her transition, the author notes that her ability to relate to men as "beings" and not economic or sexual entities was one of her greatest challenges. Every man seemed to rekindle her trauma about her transsexual past. Her own uncertainty and lack of self-esteem, a mirror of how society responds to a woman of transsexual background. She relates that internalized guilt and shame are emotions with deep roots and the profound wounding she experienced continues to be present to today.
A very interesting book!
Rosalyne Blumenstein was identified male at birth. She was introduced to shame by five years old when she dressed female with dress-up clothes provided in kindergarten. She left school and home at age 13, and spent the majority of her next 18 years working in New York's famous (infamous?) sex industry. She experienced life on the street as a prostitute, drug user, and peep-show girl.
Then she overcame her drug addiction. She returned to the peep show business clean for another seven years, supporting herself through college and graduate school with her earnings and scholarships. She was an early participant in the Gender Identity Project within Mental Health and Social Services at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center of New York. By March 1996, she became the first ever Director of the project.
The book is somewhat disjointed, making it difficult to read straight through. It is best read in segments, and is organized in a way to facilitate reading in that fashion. Life on the streets and in the clubs is related in great and intimate detail. Some will find both the language and discussions offensive, but it reflects the environment where Ms. Blumenstein spent much of her life. No one without this experience can really understand what it was like or what strength and courage it required to survive and overcome it.
As a volunteer at the Center, Ms. Blumenstein realized how out of touch she was without a formal education. She also realized that most of those she worked with were truly out of touch without her informal (street) education. Her collegiate success built on her transsexual experience to make her uniquely-qualified for her varied mental health and social services, especially for the marginalized members of our gender communities.
"This book is about pain, it's about celebration, it's about taking risks, its about going crazy, and it's about being fabulous and adventurous" It is an inspirational success story of a young woman originally designated male overcoming this incorrect designation, overcoming drug and alcohol abuse, and overcoming her life on the streets of New York to become a leader in HIV/AIDS prevention, education and outreach to all LGBT, and many other services to various marginalized communities.
The reason I recommend this book so highly is not just the style or the thoughtfulness Rosalyne has put into this, but also because it shows that there is a way out of even terribly hopeless situations. We can stop the downward spiral of despair and self-medication, of anger and self-hatred, but it requires introspection, support, and most of all perseverance. I wish every drop-in house and shelter that services young trans clients living on the street and/or engaged in survival sex had this book available. Rosalyne is a survivor, and her example can give others strength in moments of weakness or times of great adversity.