Februari, Maxim. “The Making of a Man: Notes on Transsexuality”, Reaktion Books, 2015.
Living as a Man
In the fall of 2012, Maxim Februari who had been known until then as writer and philosopher Marjolijn Februari—announced his intention to live as a man. Reactions were diverse and ranged from uneasiness to curiosity. However, there was something common to all the reactions and that is that most of us do not know how to think about transsexuality. This is what this little book is about. It is a meditation that is deeply personal as it examines briefly the “profoundly universal aspect of our identities.”
Februari looks at and thinks about the many questions that sexual transitions entail: “the clinical effects of testosterone, the alteration of sexual organs, and its effects on sexual intimacy; how transsexuality figures in the law; and how it challenges the way we talk about sex and gender, such as the seemingly minor—but crucially important—difference between the terms “transsexual” and “transgender.” He examines our impressions of effeminate men and butch women and how we separate acceptance and tolerance from actual prejudice, and he then critically examines the curious requirement in many countries that one must demonstrate a psychological disturbance—a “gender identity disorder”—in order to be granted sex change therapies. And this is just the start.
Most of us have not considered the endless minutiae that are affected by changing genders or sex from the small designations of the letters “m” and “f” to the way that testosterone can adjust physical features.
The author’s voice is clear and intimate awakens us to how our sex and gender affect everything that we do.