Monday, 14 September 2009

Transgender Studies Reader, #2: Patrick Califia gosh darn

What he writes about hormones is, like, that's what it's been like for me, too. Hormones change you in so many ways, and what they do to your thinking and to your sexuality is interesting (not to mention a huge relief, a lot of fun, and deeply satisfying to boot). For me, the direction was, obviously, different - I went from T to E. I cannot but feel a deep sympathy for Califia as he writes: "Perhaps transition will be an ironic experience for me, and I will discover that I remain the same person, having changed only my physical appearance. Now, that's a depressing thought!" (436) I thought like that, and I was right - and deeply wrong, too, as Califia himself suggests in the following passage about the effects testosterone (T) has had on him. Where he went, I have been - and I'm entirely of the opinion that if you're a man, that's the place for you, and in retrospect, I'm glad men really enjoy it - I couldn't, but no sour grapes over that: I'm not a man.

Nan Boyd's piece on the claiming of historical figures for lesbian, or transsexual visibility is good, too: a solid account of the facts, and it does seem I'm not the only one thinking "...despite anti-essentialist gestures to the contrary, contemporary sex/gender politics often document the absolutely desperate reiteration of bipolar gender as a foundation for sexual nationalism (431)." Bang on!

This is not quite the book I thought it'd be - I'll say right now I've been wrong on academic trans studies. There's a lot more to it than these literary theorists I've known about so far.

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