“Written by a leading activist in the transgender movement, Becoming a Visible Man is an artful and compelling inquiry into the politics of gender. Jamison Green combines candid autobiography with informed analysis to offer unique insight into the multiple challenges of the female-to-male transsexual experience, ranging from encounters with prejudice and strained relationships with family to the development of an FTM community and the realities of surgical sex reassignment.
For more than a decade, Green has provided educational programs on gender-variance issues for corporations, law-enforcement agencies, social-science conferences and classes, continuing legal education, religious education, and medical venues. His comprehensive knowledge of the processes and problems encountered by transgendered and transsexual people–as well as his legal advocacy work to help ensure that gender-variant people have access to the same rights and opportunities as others–enable him to explain the issues as no transsexual author has previously done.”
This is a book that I have been looking forward to reading for years. I never had the money to pick up a copy when I went to a bookstore, but I finally found it in a library. This book did not live up to the hype I had created for it, but it was not a terrible book in the slightest. This book gave a really in-depth history of the transmale movement to get recognition and to become visible as men. Much of this history was new to me despite being an activist and a transeducator which was surprising and made me really respect the author.
However, I did not like that “transgendered” made hundreds of appearances in the book (I really hate this grammatical mistake). Transgender is the term that worked throughout the book, but using the past tense just irked me throughout so I was unable to enjoy it as much as I could have otherwise.
My other issue is that it felt that the author was just name dropping during certain chapters. Many of the people he lists by full name (meaning that their name isn’t changed) are famous in the trans world and it felt like he mentioned most of them just to show that he knew them. Many of his points would have been served with mentioning the men involved and not worrying about people that weren’t involved, but I can see why he did as it opened up a new world of trans activists that otherwise people may not have known about, but for the people who did know them it became redundant.
I am a huge fan of standpoint theory writing and writing of that nature so this book was an easy read for me (outside of the two issues I mentioned above). It was a quick read that left me feeling like I knew something about the author and a great deal more about the FtM community than I did before. Not once did I feel like the author was bashing me with information or assuming I was dumb. The author is a great writer that is able to portray a bunch of information in a way that doesn’t scare off a reader, but instead lets the reader feel like they are being let into a world they may not otherwise see. So if you like standpoint theory, history, or memoir then this book is for you. I highly recommend it for people that are trying to understand a FtM as it goes into answering the questions that people who are not transgender or transsexual usually ask that are invasive.
4 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book.
You can buy this book here.