I thought I'd celebrate history month a bit differently, and showcase books written by lbgt authors. Todays offering is the first transgender book I read, written by Jamison Green. When Jamison first began his quest to fulfill his need to match his inner self with his outer self he found that there was no community of transpeople. Why? At that time the therapists all told trans folk, to fade away into society and blend in after transition. F2M's have a much easier time of blending in than do the M2F's, and f2m's dont have the onus of being "a guy in a dress" meme. The more feminine of us pass quite convincingly as male, but not always as straight males.
James talks about his girl-hood, his life as a lesbian, and how on his quest to become a whole person, lost both his wife and community, as most of his lesbian friends were not very supportive of his transition. He touches fairly lightly on his hurt feelings from this time period, but you can tell it cut deep from how he writes about this time period.
I was luckily enough to share a breakfast with him last January when I traveled to Boston for the trans conference. His speech the night before was amazing. He is warm, caring and seemingly nonjudgmental. If you get a chance to hear him talk, go he is a great public speaker.
Why should you, a non-transgendered human read this book? It will help you to better understand what being transgender is, and how some of us are so insistent about matching our inner selves with our outer selves that we are prepared to lose all to be a whole person. If only I were that brave.....
This book made me feel that I wasn't alone, that I wasn't weird or odd, and gave me a community if only thru print and web. It was this book that helped me to come to terms with who I am, and pushed me into attending the trans conference. Jamison helped usher me into my identity as a trans human, and that it was ok, it really was. Going to the trans conference was very stressful, however like anything that is hard allowed me the chance to grow as a trans man. The most important thing I learned at that conference wasn't learned in any of the seminars; there is more than one way to express one's trans-ness, and all of them are correct.
As of now, 'Becoming a Visible Man' is only available in print, not on kindle. Hopefully that will soon change.
Vanderbilt University Press, 2004