Transgender reading list
January 7, 2013 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Which books and articles are the most important for understanding transgender issues?
posted by morninj to Human Relations (19 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Do you want trans 101 stuff or heavier duty stuff?
posted by hoyland at 7:40 PM on January 7, 2013

If you don't know much of anything about trans issues, I would start by googling trans 101 and reading what comes up (I just did this, and there are several excellent links). It will give you a good diversity of views.

If you have good base of knowledge and are looking for something more specific, could you please clarify what exactly you're looking for (specific issues, scholarly articles, etc)?
posted by insectosaurus at 7:41 PM on January 7, 2013

Response by poster: I'm mostly looking for good scholarship. But I'm also interested in non-academic resources if they're especially thoughtful or widely read. Interesting pop culture representations are eligible, too.

I'm familiar with critical theory and identity politics, but it's been awhile since I've put them to serious use, so I wanted to query the hive mind to get an idea of what's on the must-read list.
posted by morninj at 7:47 PM on January 7, 2013

As far as pop culture goes, Takako Shimura's manga series Wandering Son is the best thing I've seen. It follows a trans boy and girl as they grow up and treats the subject in a realistic and un-sensationalistic manner. It's very endearing and involving; the characters seem like real kids you might know. Three volumes are out so far in English, I think.
posted by thetortoise at 7:54 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the clarification. I'm most familiar with the legal scholarship (vs other academic disciplines). In the legal area, you could start with Dean Spade's work - one interesting article is Documenting Gender. The cite is 59 Hastings L.J. 731 (2008), I'm not sure how to find a free copy online if you don't have academic access.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:54 PM on January 7, 2013

Non-academic fiction: Being Emily
Well-read blog: George.Jessie.Love.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:59 PM on January 7, 2013

Response by poster: @ Insectosaurus: I want keep the scope wide since I (and hopefully others) are interested in transgender issues in general. But one reason for this question is that I'm working on a legal research project on transgendered employees and employment discrimination—so pointers to legal scholarship and cases are totally welcome, too.
posted by morninj at 8:01 PM on January 7, 2013

Whipping Girl (A Transsexual Women on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity) by Julia Serano.
posted by tiamat at 8:06 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm guessing then the names you're looking for are Judith Halberstam (who is currently publishing as J. Jack Halberstam, I think), Judith Butler, Kate Bornstein and Julia Serrano.

You also may want the National Center for Lesbian Rights' page on trans law issues (scroll down for publications that aren't press releases).
posted by hoyland at 8:07 PM on January 7, 2013

Here are a few books:

Kate Bornstein -- Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook (new version coming out soon)
Julia Serrano -- Whipping Girl
Queer Injustice

Any yes, anything by Dean Spade.

Transgender Law Center, if you're not already in touch with them, and National Center for Lesbian Rights, for legal analysis and assistance.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:10 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

Check Paisley Currah's work, click "show scholarly articles" on this page and you'll get a bunch of articles on legal issues, including workplace rights.
posted by cushie at 8:22 PM on January 7, 2013

Seconding My Gender Workbook.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:35 PM on January 7, 2013

You might find this article [pdf] in the Indiana Law Journal interesting: "Contesting Gender in Popular Culture and Family Law: Middlesex and Other Transgender Tales." (If you have not read Jeffrey Eugenides' novel, I highly recommend it.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:45 PM on January 7, 2013

Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category is really, really great.

I'm most of the way through Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, which I'm really enjoying and covers a critical issue.

I also liked Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman.

Susan Stryker is also a really important scholar. I haven't read them both in their entirety, but I would also check out The Transgender Studies Reader (it looks like a second companion volume is also coming out in February) and Transgender History.

On a less academic (not that it's not incredibly well done/relevant) note, this is by far my favorite "Trans 101" thing online.

Agreed that Dean Spade and Julia Serano are also fantastic!
posted by kylej at 8:54 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would recommend both She's Not There, by Jennifer Finney Boylan, and She's not the man I married: My life with a transgender husband by Helen Boyd. They are good non-fiction accounts of a few experiences of being transgender, both from the inside and from the point of view of close friends or family.
posted by forza at 9:04 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd particularly recommend Dean Spade's Normal Life given the focus of your project.
posted by milkweed at 5:37 AM on January 8, 2013

And if you're interested in writing that is definitely NOT trans 101, check out The Collection, Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard.
posted by jennyjenny at 11:16 AM on January 8, 2013

I found Deirdre N. McCloskey, Crossing (University of Chicago Press, 1999) very moving and informative; details and extract here.
posted by davemack at 4:22 PM on January 8, 2013

None of this is scholarly, but I enjoyed the Transgeneration documentary series, as well as the book Dress Codes: Tale of Three Girlhoods. There's also the film Transamerica, which I don't remember much about.
posted by wannabecounselor at 6:42 PM on January 8, 2013

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