Review of Transgender History by Susan Stryker

This was another book that I picked up in preparation for Non-Binary month next month. It relates a compelling history of transgender activism in the United States and the many different names that this group has gone under. It also includes the progression of gender variance that has happened next to the transgender community. I don’t think of gender variance and transgender as synonymous, though they are not mutually exclusive either. Those who move from one binary gender to another are not the same as those who aren’t defined by the binary in any way, while neither ever really falls into the strict adherence the binary genders demand of people. This history also included several points where the intersex community has unified or developed alongside it.

This was a very inclusive history that covers where transgender people intersect with many other groups for as far back as historical facts could be properly found. It begins with those who were simply known as cross-dressers in the 1800’s and progresses through the decades until the relative present as transgender people are more readily accepted by individuals than in the past, though the binary society that we live in has not fully embraced gender variance or transgender people. Acceptance is a work in progress that seems to be getting better in this decade, but has not yet reached full equivalence. I suspect that this is still a long path to walk down for the transgendered, given that other groups have moved through marginalization and are still not given complete equality socially, or in work or government. I hope to see future editions grow to include things that have happened in this decade (the original was published in 2009), as media representation has certainly improved with the popularity of Orange Is The New Black and the subsequent notoriety of Laverne Cox.

There is also a long list of other reading at the end of Transgender History for those who wish to know about it which I will be working my way through over the years that I write this blog.

This has been a good read and very informational. It has greatly contributed to shaping next month’s topics as well as my understanding of their struggle and strongly recommended for other who wish to form a greater understanding of the struggle of this still-marginalized group.

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