Erickson-Schroth, Laura (editor). “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community”, Oxford University Press, 2014.
There are many different ways to be transgender and those who are non-conforming gender people have various ways of understanding their gender identities. It has really just been of late that sex and gender are seen as separate and both gender and sex are variable. Sex is now seen as biological/physical and gender is now seen as social. Like any other community there is tremendous diversity among trans people. Today we estimate that there are about 700,000 trans people in the United States and about 15 million universally. However, organization is lacking.
“Trans Bodies, Trans Selves” is a comprehensive reader-friendly guide for transgenders and each chapter was written by transgender or genderqueer authors. We immediately see the inspiration for this book—it was inspired by “Our Bodies, Our Selves”, the classic text written by and for women. It provides authoritative information and is a representation of the collective knowledge of experts in the field.
Each chapter deals with an important issue—race, religion, employment, surgery, mental health and others. We also have quotes and testimonials from transgender people about the very same issues and in this way the book becomes that much more personal. This is a welcoming book and a wonderful addition to the canon. It is a wonderful resource not only for transgender and gender-questioning people but also for their partners and families, students, professors, guidance counselors, and others to look for up-to-date information on transgender life. The book is large—672 pages and is something of an encyclopedia but conversational in tone and candid about the issues. The fact that is so comprehensive makes it that much more important. Here are what people are saying about it.
“The comprehensiveness of this book is a major strength that can be applied to transgender individuals, their loved ones, and those who are in fields that impact transgender individuals. I have yet to have seen a book that incorporates information for individuals who identify on the gender spectrum-most books focus on one specific identity, whereas Trans Bodies, Trans Selves allows for the breadth of applying to many different individuals. This book appears to carry on the tradition of affirming many different transgender identities and the identification process.” -Stephanie L. Budge, PhD, Assistant Professor, Counseling Psychology, University of Louisville
”Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is the answer to the wishes of many trans individuals and their therapists and counselors for a comprehensive resource of critical information that is both accurate and reliable, on the one hand, and written in a respectful way that is addressed to trans and questioning readers rather than at them or about them. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.” -Michael L. Hendricks, Ph.D., ABPP, Clinical Psychologist, Washington Psychological Center
”…a community of people who are the best experts on themselves has come together to create a resource of information, mutual support, and political advocacy that will strengthen many. Thanks to Trans Bodies, Trans Selves and all the transgender folks who have been writing and teaching over the past many years, we, a group of cisgender women, now know that we can no longer say ‘a woman’s body’ and mean only one thing.” -From the Afterword by Wendy Sanford, author of Our Bodies, Our Selves
”The many voices raised in the pages of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves are the vanguard of a rising tide. If you are new to transgender, transsexual, or trans* experience, prepare to be swept away.” -Jamison Green, President of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), co-director of the Transgender Law & Policy Institute, and author of Becoming a Visible Man
”Trans Bodies, Trans Selves comes at a moment in our history when transgender people are in the spotlight, but we are not yet the authority on our own lives. This critical resource will provide a beacon of hope for the transgender person in crisis who is facing a barrage of negative messages, life-threatening discrimination, and a lack of support and validation. We now have a volume that speaks to our lived experiences and provides the message that our lives matter, we are powerful in ourselves and our bodies, and we demand political, social, and legal equality.” -M. Dru Levasseur, JD, Director of Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Project and Co-Founder of the Jim Collins Foundation, providing financial assistance to transgender people for gender-confirming surgeries
“One of the most grassroots, comprehensive transgender and gender noncomforming (TGNC) community-based literary projects I have ever seen. Lots of great people with diverse perspectives brought together to provide a truly holistic look at what is to be a TGNC person in all the various ways one may define that for themselves. A great resource that respects the immense intersectionality of trans and gender nonconforming people’s lives. Finally a literary project that sincerely deserves the use of the term ‘Groundbreaking’.” -Imani Henry, Staff Organizer at the International Action Center (IAC), focusing on national organizing of LGBT people and communities of color
”For years I wondered how to create a one-stop-shop book for the trans community with all the basic info trans people would need. Trans Bodies, Trans Selves has done it!” -Riki Wilchins, founder of GenderPAC and The Transexual Menace, and author of Queer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer
“Trans Bodies Trans Selves is a remarkably timely and much needed book that brings together collaborators across the spectrum of transgender health, culture, and history. At no other time has the transgender community been so poised to break out of its collective closet than now. It is vitally important to our communities of transgender people, advocates, and health care providers to have this volume of expertise at our fingertips. Dr. Erickson-Schroth has done us a great service by bringing together thoughtful thinkers and writers in the social and biological sciences to share complex knowledge that will empower each reader of this volume in new ways. Whether you are transgender, genderqueer, cis, scholar, health-care provider, social service provider, policy-maker, loved one, or other interested ally, you will find mind-opening and practical information and perspectives in this groundbreaking collection.” -Jack Pula, MD, co-chair of the APA NY District Branch Committee on LGBT issues
“It’s impossible to make informed decisions about one’s life in the absence of information. Happily, trans people now have a wealth of information in the form of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves.” -Dallas Denny, Founding Director of the American Educational Gender Information Service (AEGIS), past editor of Chrysalis Quarterly and Transgender Tapestry, and former director of the Fantasia Fair
“There has never been a book just like Trans Bodies, Trans Selves. More than a medical textbook, much more than any individual’s autobiography, this anthology of transgender health and history is personalized with interviews covering every point on the spectrum of transgender experience. Transgender and gender nonconforming persons will read this book and see stories directly relevant to their own lives. Others who read with a desire to learn about the experience of transgender life – for that is the correct term, ‘life’ not ‘lifestyle’ – will not be disappointed. People who said ‘I have never met a transgender person’ may feel they have met many of us in the pages of this book. [R]recommended for everyone who wants to understand this wonderful, brave, diverse group called ‘transgender.’” -Rebecca Allison, MD, past President of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality