“Transgender” has become a convenient umbrella term to cover a collectivity of individuals (including cross-dressers, transvestites, transsexuals, and intersexuals) who do not conform to traditional norms of gender identity or behavior. Until recent centuries, transgender behavior has rarely been the subject of scholarly or public attention. During the 20th century, medical advances in hormone therapy and reconstructive surgery, the worldwide publicity generated by the Christine Jorgensen story in the 1950s, and the popularity of such plays and movies as La Cage Aux Folles and The Birdcage make the subject much more visible for society.
This book is a compilation of autobiographies of women and men who openly describe their different and often very difficult journeys, frankly. Using a decade-by-decade format, the contributors provide the reader with critical insights into the process of realization that led to their various gender expressions. The contributors include homosexuals, heterosexuals, and bisexuals, and their life stories make clear that a good deal of diversity exists within the gender community.
A thorough introduction by the editors provides many insights into gender issues from a biological, socio-anthropological, and historical perspective.