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Transgender Voices

Beyond Women and Men

Lori B. Girshick

Publication Year: 2009

In this extraordinary book, based on 150 in-depth interviews, Lori B. Girshick, a sociologist and social justice activist, brings together the voices of sex- and gender-diverse people who speak with absolute candor about their lives. Girshick presents transpeople speaking in their own voices about identity, coming out, passing, sexual orientation, relationship negotiations and the dynamics of attraction, homophobia (including internalized fears), and bullying. She exposes the guilt and the shame that "gender police" use in their attempts to exert control and points out the many ways transpeople are discriminated against in daily life, from filling out identification documents to gender-segregated bathrooms.

By showing us a variety of descriptions of diverse real lives and providing a thorough exploration of the embodied experiences of gender variant people, Girshick demonstrates that there is nothing inherently binary about gender, and that the way each of us experiences our own gender is, in fact, normal and natural.

Published by: University Press of New England


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pp. i-ii

Title Page

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pp. iii-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Generalizations of femaleness and maleness have long served as tools to enforce social order. Regardless of the details, which would certainly differ from tribe to tribe, from culture to culture, through language, and be influenced by geographic and economic conditions, the categorization of sexed human bodies and the interpretation...

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pp. xiii-xvi

It’s hard to know where to begin to appreciate the many people I’ve met and the experiences I have had that led me to write this book. I have been privileged to find creative spaces, whether at gender conferences, in books I’ve read, during discussion with friends, or even in my reaction to reports of daily discrimination and the horrors...

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Introduction: Identity Boxes

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pp. 1-22

I want to reiterate that I don’t see myself as a gender transgressor, I see myself as a gender transcender. I dream of a world where the gender binary is transformed, with grace and peace, and with genuine respect for all current forms, from two genres to an infinite number. I fear that a socio-political program of transgression only serves to reinscribe the binary system by not really ever escaping...

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1: The Social Construction of Biological Facts

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pp. 23-50

I think that my transgenderism was caused by a prenatal misprogramming of my posterior hypothalamus, just as I know, medically, that my Intersex condition was caused by a congenital misprogramming of my anterior hypothalamus and adrenals. (Raven, transgendered FtM intersexual)...

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2: Self-Definition: Birth through Adolescence

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pp. 51-68

I knew I was different from other children because I was a boy who desired to be a girl, but a strong sense of fear compelled me at that early age to conceal my desire. Perhaps this concealment predisposed me to identify with comic-book super-heroes, many of whom have two completely different identities, one...

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3: Constructing the Self: Options and Challenges

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pp. 69-97

I have to have supervised visitation with my children for now, and the supervisor asked me, “Why do you feel you have to dress?” and I said, “Well”—and she’s a very feminine woman—and I said, “Look, what if I told you you had to dress with a crew cut, a t-shirt, and jeans only. How would...

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4: Coming Out to Community, Family, and Work

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pp. 98-132

How does a person reveal a secret he or she is ashamed of ? How do people tell others something they fear will lead to rejection by people they love? How does someone explain an aspect of the self others may not understand? If the secret is gender variance, words...

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5: Gender Policing

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pp. 133-153

The gender binary has a little wiggle room. After all, some men are househusbands, some women are astronauts, some men have long hair, and some women sculpt their bodies, muscles bulging, through bodybuilding. David Bowie, Boy George, Dennis...

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6: Inner Turmoil and Moving toward Acceptance

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pp. 154-178

It would not be accurate to say that every trans-identified person is suicidal, mutilates his or her genitals, or has an eating disorder. However, a significant number of them do experience a range of emotional problems as a consequence of being stigmatized for...

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Epilogue: Gender Liberation

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pp. 179-190

I am walking down the street, and a young person says “Happy New Year” to me while riding past me on a bike. I call out “Same to you!” and notice a bit more: baggy T-shirt, baggy pants, and shoulder-length light brown hair. The voice was somewhat high pitched, which made me think that the person was a female. But...


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pp. 191-200


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pp. 201-208


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pp. 209-215

E-ISBN-13: 9781584658382
E-ISBN-10: 158465838X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781584656456

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2009