Responding to a critical need for greater perspectives on transgender life in the United States, Genny Beemyn and Susan (Sue) Rankin apply their extensive expertise to a groundbreaking surveyone of the largest ever conducted in the U.S.on gender development and identity-making among transsexual women, transsexual men, crossdressers, and genderqueer individuals. With nearly 3,500 participants, the survey is remarkably diverse, and with more than 400 follow-up interviews, the data offers limitless opportunities for research and interpretation.
Beemyn and Rankin track the formation of gender identity across individuals and groups, beginning in childhood and marking the "touchstones" that led participants to identify as transgender. They explore when and how participants noted a feeling of difference because of their gender, the issues that caused them to feel uncertain about their gender identities, the factors that encouraged them to embrace a transgender identity, and the steps they have taken to meet other transgender individuals. Beemyn and Rankin's findings expose the kinds of discrimination and harassment experienced by participants in the U.S. and the psychological toll of living in secrecy and fear. They discover that despite increasing recognition by the public of transgender individuals and a growing rights movement, these populations continue to face bias, violence, and social and economic disenfranchisement. Grounded in empirical data yet rich with human testimony, The Lives of Transgender People adds uncommon depth to the literature on this subject and introduces fresh pathways for future research.
This book's greatest strengths are twofold: it outlines a wide diversity of gender identities that step outside of previous identity markers, including the experiences of young genderqueer people, and it contributes to research on trans people, which has been very out of date.
Arlene Istar Lev, University of Albany, School of Social Welfare, and Choices Counseling and Consulting
The authors have done an excellent job of using up-to-date references and the text is reflective of current trends.
Gerald P. Mallon, Hunter College School of Social Work, City University of New York, and author of Social Work Practice with Transgender and Gender Variant Youth
With their substantial empirical study, Genny Beemyn and Susan R. Rankin have accomplished what no other research has managed to do: through numerical analysis and narrative, they have represented the diversity of transgender people, explored in depth the range of experiences of these communities, and described the challenges many of us face. The Lives of Transgender People is an invaluable reference for researchers, activists, and policymakers.
Paisley Currah, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
The Lives of Transgender People breaks new ground.
...this book serves as an excellent resource for those wishing to know more about transgender experiences, as well as those endeavoring to highlight the challenges these communities continue to face in everyday life.
Lives will be a rich source of data for activists, theorists, and policymakers, as well as one possible model for doing research on sex and gender that allows us to collect meaningful data without depending on the binary male/female, man/woman dichotomies that continue to unhelpfully reduce the variety of human experience to the inflexible straightjackets of innate gender difference.