Pat Califia needs no introduction for lesbian and gay readers. His writings on sexuality, pornography, censorship, S/M and other controversial topics have earned him the reputation of a fearless defender of the rights of gays and lesbians — and a fearless intellectual adversary. Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism is Califia’s meticulously researched analysis of the contemporary history of transsexuality. Based on in-depth interviews with gender transgressors who "opened their lives, minds, hearts, and bedrooms to the gaze of strangers," this book combines a well thought-out chronology with Pat Califia’s hallmark candor and insight.
Writing about both male-to-female and female-to-male transsexuals, Califia examines the lives of early transgender pioneers like Christine Jorgenson, Jan Morris, Renee Richards and Mark Rees, contemporary transgender activists like Leslie Feinberg and Kate Bornstein, and partners of transgendered people like Minnie Bruce Pratt.
Califia scrutinizes feminist resistance to transsexuals, the Christian Right’s backlash, and the appropriation of the berdache and other differently-gendered people by gay historians. Finally, Sex Changes explores the future of gender.
Common sense has dictated that there are two genders--female and male. But this perspective is becoming less accepted and making less sense for many people. Pat Califia's Sex Changes is a frank, forthright, and sometimes funny challenge to the traditional ideas about gender and sexuality. Transgenderism is the term used to describe people who feel they belong to both, or neither, traditional genders. Califia--a vocal sex radical as well as a therapist--explores the worlds of biology, sociology, psychology, and politics and comes to the conclusion that life and personal experience is far more complicated than most people believe and that the simple two-gender system most people accept is more harmful that helpful. Clear-headed writing and enormous empathy for everyone who exists outside of "the norm" make Sex Changes challenging and vital reading.
Who would you be if you had never been punished for gender-inappropriate behavior? What would it be like to grow up in a society where gender was truly consensual? If the rite of passage was to name your own gender at adolescence, or upon your transition into adulthood? What would it be like to walk down the street, go to work, or attend a party and take it for granted that the gender of the people you met would not be the first thing you ascertained about them? If you could change your sex as effortlessly in reality as you can in virtual reality, and change it back again, wouldn't you like to try it at least once? What would it be like to live in a society where you could take a vacation from gender? Or, even more importantly, from other people's gender? What if we all helped each other to manifest our most beautiful, sexy, intelligent, creative, and adventurous inner selves, instead of cooperating to suppress them? If these questions frighten, offend, or annoy you, you are one of the people who stand to benefit from transactivism-although it probably doesn't feel like your benefactor. And if these questions amuse, engage, and challenge you, you're probably a transactivist already. Welcome to the genderevolution. - Pat Califia Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism is Pat Califia's meticulously researched analysis of the contemporary history of transsexuality. Based on in-depth interviews with gender transgressors who "opened their lives, minds, hearts, and bedrooms to the gaze of strangers," Sex Changes demonstrates Pat Califia's hallmark candor and insight. Writing about both male-to-female and female-to-male transsexuals, Califia examines the lives of early transgender pioneers like Christine Jorgenson, Jan Morris, Rene Richards and Mark Rees; partners of transgendered people like Minnie Bruce Pratt; and contemporary transgender activists like Leslie Feinberg and Kate Bornstein. Includes bibliography, resources, index. Pat Califia is well-known as a sharp critic of repressive American attitudes toward gender, sexuality and pornography. She is the author of many books, including Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex.
From the Back Cover