- March 18, 2021 at 7:48 am #95831Michelle LarsenAmbassador
So, the other night, in the Chat Room, James mentioned he was going to go read a book. As he and I chatted some more, we had an idea; some Forum posts to highlight, and discuss transgender related books. So we came up with a “Book of the Month Club” thing. They could be fiction, or non-fiction, so they were not of an ‘intimate’ nature. So, if you have a suggested book that you have read, that fits with this, please feel free to introduce us to it. Thanks, Michelle
- October 12, 2021 at 11:05 pm #120170
REFLECTIONS FROM BOTH SIDES of the GLASS CEILING
(Finding My True Self In Corporate America) by Stephanie Battaglino (2020)
Published by L’Oste Vineyard Press
I’ll begin with a confession. Before I signed up to attend Ms. Battaglino’s presentation and Q&A period in Palm Springs a few weeks ago, I had never heard of her. I am certain of that as I have a thing for unusual words and names. Unfortunately I missed her presentation as I had to attend a social affair earlier in the evening, but I made it in time for the majority of her Q&A session. It really stood out to me that she was very candid in answering the questions put to her. I’m always impressed when people choose to be very open about very personal subjects. It says a lot about their commitment to what they are doing.
Conceptually, this book shares a lot with Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness as it covers ones early life and struggles with gender identity and continues into adulthood, transitioning and what comes after. However, Stephanie’s chronology also includes her early professional career, which occurred in a very haphazard fashion, 2 failed marriages, her relationship with her son, her later career when Michael began to hit his stride professionally and workplace experiences as Stephanie compared to what Michael experienced.
As with many trans people, our paths to lasting self awareness are not linear. Stephanie’s was stop and start many times over. Also not uncommonly, there were periods of drinking too much, contemplating suicide and other facets that we see in many stories. For me, the most interesting part was the difference in the workplace before and after transition. Only then did she have a detailed understanding of the differences in the workplace as a function of gender and how male privilege works. The difference was eye-opening for her. I suspect that many of us have read a number of coming out and transition accounts. However, this one stands out due to its detailed account as she became more aware of the different treatment that women received in the workplace. The sum total of these experiences led her to be not only being a trans activist, but also a women’s equality advocate.
There was also a bit of a personal connection. When I mentioned the company from which I retired, she said that not long ago she had been brought in as a consultant. A trans person had been hired and she was asked to help the co-workers understand the situation and get the “dumb stuff” (my words) out of the way. I checked with a friend of mine that I knew from my days with the LGBT employee affinity group and learned that Stephanie did an excellent job of preparing the co-workers and allaying the fears of the new employee.
I recommend this book because it provides a lot of insight regarding one person’s journey as well as great detail for how gender differences play out in the workplace. Transitioning in place is a difficult proposition, particularly if you are the first. This book provides a lot of information about the process if you need to help guide your management and HR staff.
The Valley here is really a collection of small towns. It seems like everyone knows everyone. In that context, I am likely to cross paths with Stephanie again. I look forward to that…
- October 3, 2021 at 5:09 am #119469
Between Shadow and Sun: A Husband’s Journey Through Gender – A Wife’s Labor of Love by Tina Madison
280 pages published by ‘Self’
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A MAN’S SEARCH FOR IDENTITY GOES HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH A WOMAN’S LOVE?
Tom had carved out a successful career helping companies transform. He loved big change. He also loved being a husband and father. His wife, Mary, called him her knight in shining armor.
But Tom struggled with a secret: was he a man or a woman? He had agonized over this question for most of his life: “God, help me, let it be anything but this.”
Between Shadow and Sun chronicles Tina White’s fifty-year journey to womanhood: her efforts to make sense of life as a man; her awkward first steps into the world as a woman; her struggle to honor and love her family and to hold onto her career.
The book also describes the efforts by Tina’s family – especially her wife, Mary – to make sense of it all. Mary was disconsolate over the loss of her husband. Would she embrace the woman who had taken him away from her?
- July 17, 2021 at 8:51 am #114243Michelle LiefdeMANAGING EDITOR
Yes, You Are Trans Enough: My Transition from Self-Loathing to Self-Love by Mia Violet
258 pages. Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
“To be transgender all you need is to have an inkling that the gender on your birth certificate is not quite right. That’s it.” – Mia Violet, Yes, You Are Trans Enough
Mia’s warmth, humor, honesty, and self reflection come through the pages easily. You feel the frustration as well as the triumphs that she writes about her journey from the inner thoughts to the outer moments that moved her along. I have been reading a lot of memoirs by folx in our community yet this one was the first that really reminded me of my own past struggles and inability to put a name on what bothered me for so long. This memoir has given me quite a great insight into my own journey and I hope it can do the same for you.
- July 7, 2021 at 2:16 pm #112158
225 pages. Published by Faber & Faber
In 1989 Caroline Cossey, who was born male, made an appeal to the European Commission of Human Rights. She was fighting for the legal right to marry as a woman. The author tells of her childhood in Norfolk, the operations that liberated her sexually and her persecution by the tabloid press.
- June 29, 2021 at 5:00 am #111118
Go the Way Your Blood Beats: An Anthology of Lesbian and Gay Fiction by African-American Writers
384 pages. Published by Henry Holt & Co
Thirty-two stories look at the presence and place of lesbians and gays in the history of African American Literature.
- June 29, 2021 at 4:57 am #111117
Stonewall: The Definitive Story of the LGBTQ Rights Uprising that Changed America
432 pages. Published by Plume
The definitive account of the Stonewall Riots, the first gay rights march, and the LGBTQ activists at the center of the movement.
“Martin Duberman is a national treasure.”—Masha Gessen, The New Yorker
On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, was raided by police. But instead of responding with the typical compliance the NYPD expected, patrons and a growing crowd decided to fight back. The five days of rioting that ensued changed forever the face of gay and lesbian life.
In Stonewall, renowned historian and activist Martin Duberman tells the full story of this pivotal moment in history. With riveting narrative skill, he re-creates those revolutionary, sweltering nights in vivid detail through the lives of six people who were drawn into the struggle for LGBTQ rights. Their stories combine to form an unforgettable portrait of the repression that led up to the riots, which culminates when they triumphantly participate in the first gay rights march of 1970, the roots of today’s pride marches.
Fifty years after the riots, Stonewall remains a rare work that evokes with a human touch an event in history that still profoundly affects life today.
- June 29, 2021 at 4:54 am #111116
Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past
592 pages. Published by Plume
This richly revealing anthology brings together for the first time the vital new scholarly studies now lifting the veil from the gay and lesbian past. Such notable researchers as John Boswell, Shari Benstock, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Jeffrey Weeks and John D’Emilio illuminate gay and lesbian life as it evolved in places as diverse as the Athens of Plato, Renaissance Italy, Victorian London, jazz Age Harlem, Revolutionary Russia, Nazi Germany, Castro’s Cuba, post-World War II San Francisco—and peoples as varied as South African black miners, American Indians, Chinese courtiers, Japanese samurai, English schoolboys and girls, and urban working women. Gender and sexuality, repression and resistance, deviance and acceptance, identity and community—all are given a context in this fascinating work.
“A landmark of a book and a landmark of ideas that will shatter ignorance and delusion.”—Catharine Stimpson, University Professor and Dean Emerita of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University
“The juxtaposition of diverse perspectives and research crossing boundaries of race, gender, culture, and time encourages a lively dialogue. Highly recommended for history collections, and especially gay studies.”—Library Journal
- June 29, 2021 at 4:51 am #111115
Rainbow Warrior: My Life in Color
256 pages. Published by Chicago Review Press
In 1978, Harvey Milk asked Gilbert Baker to create a unifying symbol for the growing gay rights movement, and on June 25 of that year, Baker’s Rainbow Flag debuted at San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade. Baker had no idea his creation would become an international emblem of liberation, forever cementing his pivotal role in helping to define the modern LGBTQ movement. Rainbow Warrior is Baker’s passionate personal chronicle, from a repressive childhood in 1950s Kansas to a harrowing stint in the US Army, and finally his arrival in San Francisco, where he bloomed as both a visual artist and social justice activist. His fascinating story weaves through the early years of the struggle for LGBTQ rights, when he worked closely with Milk, Cleve Jones, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Baker continued his flag-making, street theater and activism through the Reagan years and the AIDS crisis. And in 1994, Baker spearheaded the effort to fabricate a mile-long Rainbow Flag—at the time, the world’s longest—to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York City. Gilbert and parade organizers battled with Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the right to carry it up Fifth Avenue, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Today, the Rainbow Flag has become a worldwide symbol of LGBTQ diversity and inclusiveness, and its colorful hues have illuminated landmarks from the White House to the Eiffel Tower to the Sydney Opera House. Gilbert Baker often called himself the “Gay Betsy Ross,” and readers of his colorful, irreverent, and deeply personal memoir will find it difficult to disagree.
- June 29, 2021 at 1:32 am #111112
REDEFINING REALNESS (My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More) by Janet Mock (2014)
Published by ATRIA Paperback
This is a Tell-All book in the sense that she details all phases of her life. This covers childhood, the separation of her parents, relationships with her family members, living at various times in Hawaii, Dallas and Oakland, redefining herself as female in high school, winning a scholarship to attend the University of Hawaii, doing sex work to fund her surgeries, her transition and adult relationships. At first she was reluctant to tell her story in detail but eventually she included just about everything as the story would not ring true otherwise. Nothing was obvious to me that something was missing. What I came away with was a sense of a woman who, against ALL the odds, dealt with and overcame all those elements that would work to throw her off her chosen path.
I actually met Janet when she made an appearance her in Palm Springs. I had the sense that she would just be an interesting person to spend time with; not because of her past, but because of her future…
- June 9, 2021 at 4:13 am #110154
As a Woman: What I Learned about Power, Sex, and the Patriarchy after I Transitioned by Dr Paula Stone Williams
256 pages. Published by Atria Books
A moving and unforgettable memoir of a transgender pastor’s journey from despair to joy as she transitioned from male to female and learned about gender inequity, at home and in the workplace—perfect for fans of Redefining Realness and There Is Room for You.
As a father of three, married to a wonderful woman, and holding several prominent jobs within the Christian community, Dr. Paula Stone Williams made the life-changing decision to physically transition from male to female at the age of sixty. Almost instantly, her power and influence in the evangelical world disappeared and her family had to grapple with intense feelings of loss and confusion.
Feeling utterly alone and at a loss after being expelled from the evangelical churches she had once spearheaded, Paula struggled to create a new safe space for herself where she could reconcile her faith, her identity, and her desire to be a leader. Much to her surprise, the key to her new career as a woman came with a deeper awareness of the inequities she had overlooked before her transition. Where her opinions were once celebrated and amplified, now she found herself sidelined and ignored. New questions emerged. Why are women’s opinions devalued in favor of men’s? Why does love and intimacy feel so different? And, was it possible to find a new spirituality in her own image?
In As a Woman, Paula pulls back the curtain on her transition journey and sheds light on the gendered landscape that impacts many in the LGBTQ+ community. She urges men to recognize the ways in which the world is tilted in their favor and validates the experiences of women who have been disregarded based solely on their gender, while also acknowledging how she was once like those men who are blind to their privilege. With equal parts humility and confidence, Paula shares her lived experience of both genders and offers a truly unique perspective on the universal struggle to understand what it means to be male, female, and simply, human.
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- April 22, 2021 at 6:19 pm #100385
She’s Not There by <span class=”a-size-medium”>Jennifer Finney Boylan</span>
352 pages. Published by Crown
When she changed genders, she changed the world. It was the groundbreaking publication of She’s Not There in 2003 that jump-started the transgender revolution. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Boylan – a cast member on I Am Cait; an advisor to the television series Transparent, and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times — explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of love and family.
She’s Not There was one of the first works to present trans experience from the perspective of a literary novelist, opening a door to new understanding of love, sex, gender, and identity. Boylan inspired readers to ask the same questions she asked herself: What is it that makes us—ourselves? What does it mean to be a man, or a woman? How much could my husband, or wife, change—and still be recognizable as the one I love?
Boylan’s humorous, wise voice helped make She’s Not There the first bestselling work by a transgender American–and transformed Boylan into a national spokeswoman for LGBTQ people, their families, and the people that love them. This updated and revised edition also includes a new epilogue from Jenny’s wife Grace; it also contains the original afterward by her friend, novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo.
“Love will prevail,” said Boylan’s conservative mother, as she learned about her daughter’s identity. She’s Not There is the story that helped bring about a world in which that change seems almost possible.
- April 8, 2021 at 12:57 pm #99587
Diary of a Trans Housewife by Zoe Roderick
Unknown pages. Published on WordPress.com
An excerpt from her Introduction:
My name is Zoe, and it is a pleasure to meet you. As you have taken the time to find your way here, I guess it would probably be a great idea for me to tell you a bit about myself, right?
Well, I live in a small Northamptonshire town in the United Kingdom with my husband, two dogs and a cat. Oh, and I am a housewife. A trans housewife to be exact. I estimate that around ninety percent of you have all gasped at the last statement even though the clue is in the title of the website. For those of you who are still reading along let’s get into it shall we?
If you want to read more, Zoe’s ongoing diary is here: https://diaryofatranshousewife.wordpress.com/
- March 31, 2021 at 6:30 pm #96418
Wonderful Transitions by J. Johns
128 pages. Published on Amazon Kindle
Needless to say, the story is controversial and is about a passable cross-dresser who works alone and occasionally with law enforcement catching muggers, rapists, and sex traffickers. This is not the whole story however. The novel is not only very explicit but at times extremely sensual from the protagonist’s perspective.
The novel spans the protagonist’s life from being a young teenager, to mid-life, to becoming a new senior citizen or “mature” as his feminine orientation refers to aging.
Throughout these phases, his masculinity is conflicted as to what society accepts and what he truly wants. During this span, our hero manages to put the people he cares about
first, especially loved ones. All this is at a cost, perhaps sacrificing his ultimate happiness. Sadly, he is ever vigilant as a result of trauma. As a result, he’s always prepared and fortunately for us sees evil as something that must always be confronted immediately, win or lose.
Please keep an open mind during this dramatic life story and you’ll will not only be intrigued by sharing a new perspective of an alternative lifestyle and gender
dysphoria but learn about life lessons and examples that should be embraced by everyone.
In conclusion, the book transcends ordinary tough guy erotic literature, “Wonderful Transitions,” a novel by J. Johns.
- March 18, 2021 at 6:08 pm #95865
TO SURVIVE ON THIS SHORE by Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Fabbre
163 pages, Published by Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg Germany (2019)
Stylistically, I’m not sure what to call this book. Physically, it is a 1 page portrait of trans men and women beside interview text on the adjacent page. The subtitle is: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults.
For more than 5 years, Dugan (a photographer) and Fabbre (a social worker) travelled across the US looking for subjects, and interviewing them, for this book. The interviews are not intended to be comprehensive, but do provide some insight as to the lives of the subjects. It is fascinating as the lives of older members of the trans community are rarely brought forth so clearly.
The stories are fascinating in that it illustrates that there are so many roads that lead to self-discovery. Sadly, for all who figure out how things truly sit for them, there are many who do not…
- March 18, 2021 at 5:44 pm #95861
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Trans (but were afraid to ask) by Brynn Tannehill (2019)
431 pages (358 is text, the rest is bibliography and index),
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishing
This is an extraordinary tour de force as is demonstrated by the length of the bibliography. There are 12 chapters:
- Trans 101
- Trans 201
- Dating and Sex
- Medicine/Mental Health
- (Bad) Science
- Media and Popular Culture
- Where We Go From Here
I found the Law, Politics and Religion sections to be somewhat unsettling. Tannehill has pulled a lot of information together to illustrate how various forces are working against the Trans community. Not unlike a duck on the water, the significant stuff is under the waterline. Conservative lawyers, conservative politicians and conservative religious leaders are playing the long game here. They continue to chip away and chip away over time such that shifts are almost imperceptible, but at some point, the accumulation of which may prove to be very difficult for us. This book provides an understanding of what’s going on and hopefully will motivate us, as well as the LGB community. We can’t forget that this is a long range strategy that won’t be satisfied until ALL of us are erased, dead or back deeply in the closet…
- March 18, 2021 at 7:59 am #95834
You and Your Gender Identity by Dara Hoffman-Fox
280 pages. Published by Skyhorse
Are you wrestling with questions surrounding your gender that just don’t seem to go away? Do you want answers to questions about your gender identity, but aren’t sure how to get started?
In this groundbreaking guide, Dara Hoffman-Fox, LPC—accomplished gender therapist and thought leader whose articles, blogs, and videos have empowered thousands worldwide—helps you navigate your journey of self-discovery in three approachable stages: preparation, reflection, and exploration.
In You and Your Gender Identity, you will learn:
- Why understanding your gender identity is core to embracing your full being
- How to sustain the highs and lows of your journey with resources, connection, and self-care
- How to uncover and move through your feelings of fear, loneliness, and doubt
- Why it’s important to examine your past through the lens of gender exploration
- How to discover and begin living as your authentic self
- What options you have after making your discoveries about your gender identity
This unique, interactive guide can help you answer the questions you’ve been asking yourself.
- March 18, 2021 at 7:55 am #95833
Real Man Adventures by T Cooper
272 pages. McSweeney’s Publishing
T Cooper’s Real Man Adventures is not a memoir. It’s an adventure storyand one packed with all the requisite dark alleys, disguises, leading ladies, and plot twists.
Cooper’s bold and bracing exploration of his transition to male unfurls in a series of inspired vignettes, intimate letters never sent, interviews, lists, and good old-fashioned stories that capture the range of the human experience. Real Man Adventures is a sharp, hilarious, incredibly personal, and ingenuously honest look at what the hell it even means to be a man” (Interview magazine).
- March 18, 2021 at 7:51 am #95832
Balls: It Takes Some to Get Some by Chris Edwards
264 pages. Published by Greenleaf Book Group
Changing your gender from female to male takes balls. And if you’re going to do it in front of 500 coworkers at one of the top ad agencies in the country, you better have a pretty big set!
At a time when the term “transgender” didn’t really exist, and with support from family, friends, and a great therapist, Chris Edwards endured 28 surgeries to become the man he always knew he was meant to be. He used what he learned working in advertising along with his ever-present sense of humor to rebrand himself and orchestrate what was quite possibly the most widely accepted and embraced gender transition of its kind. He’s a pioneer who changed the perception of an entire community, and his memoir, BALLS, will touch readers’ hearts and open their minds.
Edwards is funny, brazen, and endearing, and BALLS is the hilarious and moving story about family, friends, and the courage to be your true self. It boldly and fearlessly goes where other trans memoirs haven’t. If you’ve ever felt uncomfortable in your own skin, for whatever reason, you will be inspired and empowered by this book.
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