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Becoming a Visible Man

Jamison Green

Publication Year: 2004

Written by a leading activist in the transgender movement, Becoming a Visible Man is an artful and compelling inquiry into the politics of gender. Jamison Green combines candid autobiography with informed analysis to offer unique insight into the multiple challenges of the female-to-male transsexual experience, ranging from encounters with prejudice and strained relationships with family to the development of an FTM community and the realities of surgical sex reassignment. For more than a decade, Green has provided educational programs on gender-variance issues for corporations, law-enforcement agencies, social-science conferences and classes, continuing legal education, religious education, and medical venues. His comprehensive knowledge of the processes and problems encountered by transgendered and transsexual people—as well as his legal advocacy work to help ensure that gender-variant people have access to the same rights and opportunities as others—enable him to explain the issues as no transsexual author has previously done. Brimming with frank and often poignant recollections of Green’s own experiences—including his childhood struggles with identity and his years as a lesbian parent prior to his sex-reassignment surgery—the book examines transsexualism as a human condition, and sex reassignment as one of the choices that some people feel compelled to make in order to manage their gender variance. Relating the FTM psyche and experience to the social and political forces at work in American society, Becoming a Visible Man also speaks consciously of universal principles that concern us all, particularly the need to live one’s life honestly, openly, and passionately.

Published by: Vanderbilt University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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p. vii

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pp. ix-x

I first met Jamison Green in 1990 while I was doing research for my second book, FTM: Female-to-Male Transsexuals in Society. James had only been living as a man for a few years at that time. Lou Sullivan was still alive and had not yet...

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pp. xi-xii

Acknowledgments are due to all the transsexual men and women who have provided shelter in my travels around the world, and encouraged me along the way—they are many strong, amazing people with rich stories of their own, especially Aaron, Adam, Alejandro, Alex, Alison, Andrew, Andy, Armand...

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Chapter 1 How Do You Know?

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pp. 1-26

Y ou all know what sex you are, right?” That’s how I like to start. To most students I look like a professor, a psychologist, or a businessman. I am short, athletically built, with a full, trimmed beard, a balding head, and a deep voice...

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Chapter 2 Initiation

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pp. 27-52

T hrough the decade of the 1990s I directed a great deal of energy toward improving the quality of life for transsexual people around the world. Much of that effort has been very basic: convincing people that female-to-male transgendered...

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Chapter 3 A Vision of Community

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pp. 53-88

My first foray into what might be called a community of transsexual men and their loved ones in 1988 introduced me to a paraculture of people who were decidedly apolitical, which was just fine by me. In those days, the few people I met who wanted to transition from female to male were concerned...

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Chapter 4 Body of Knowledge

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pp. 89-122

Surgery is not what transsexualism is ultimately about. Transsexualism is about life. It’s about relationships, and not just intimate ones. Being a transsexual is not something we do in the privacy of our own bedrooms; it affects every aspect of our lives, from our driver’s licenses to our work...

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Chapter 5 Transparent Feelings

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pp. 123-146

I forbid it,” my mother sputtered, slamming her tiny fist against the arm of her easy chair. It was a warm Saturday in the spring of 1988, and I had just told her I intended to apply to a medically supervised program for surgical sex reassignment. I’d only seen her this angry a few times before: when I told...

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Chapter 6 Consummate Presence

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pp. 147-170

When I was growing up, there was virtually no discussion within my family about sexuality. My brother and I were taught respect for the autonomous physical space of others, and that our bodies were private and not to be violated. We were left to infer what violation meant. I learned about sexuality...

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Chapter 7 Visibility

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pp. 171-198

When Billy Tipton died in Spokane, Washington on January 21, 1989, the phenomenon of a female-bodied man did not generate much discussion of transsexualism outside of the transsexual community. Because he had not had any hormones or surgery, it was easy for his story to be adopted by...

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Chapter 8 Willful Destiny

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pp. 199-216

For the first two years of my transition I did not communicate with my out-of-state relatives. To avoid embarrassing my mother, I would arrive at my childhood home on fortnightly visits in the evening when neighbors would be busy having dinner, not looking out their windows. I hurried in from...


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pp. 217-222


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pp. 223-231

E-ISBN-13: 9780826591838
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826514561
Print-ISBN-10: 0826514561

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2004

OCLC Number: 61859542
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Becoming a Visible Man

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Subject Headings

  • Green, Jamison, 1948-.
  • Transsexuals -- United States -- Biography.
  • Sex role -- United States.
  • Gender identity -- United States.
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