Crossing: A Memoir
Deirdre N. McCloskey University of Chicago Press, 1999 Library of Congress HQ77.8.M39A3 1999 | Dewey Decimal 305.9066
We have read the stories of those who have "crossed" lines of race and class and culture. But few have written of crossing—completely and entirely—the gender line. Crossing is the story of Deirdre McCloskey (formerly Donald), once a golden boy of conservative economics and a child of 1950s and 1960s privilege, and her dramatic and poignant journey to becoming a woman. McCloskey's account of her painstaking efforts to learn to "be a woman" unearth fundamental questions about gender and identity, and hatreds and anxieties, revealing surprising answers.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
“I visited womanhood and stayed. It was not for the pleasures, though I discovered many I had not imagined, and many pains too. But calculating pleasures and pains was not the point. The point was who I am.”
Once a golden boy of conservative economics and a child of 1950s privilege, Deirdre McCloskey (formerly Donald) had wanted to change genders from the age of eleven. But it was a different time, one hostile to any sort of straying from the path—against gays, socialists, women with professions, men without hats, and so on—and certainly against gender transition. Finally, in 1995, at the age of fifty-three, it was time for McCloskey to cross the gender line.
Crossing is the story of McCloskey’s dramatic and poignant transformation from Donald to Dee to Deirdre. She chronicles the physical procedures and emotional evolution required and the legal and cultural roadblocks she faced in her journey to womanhood. By turns searing and humorous, this is the unflinching, unforgettable story of her transformation—what she lost, what she gained, and the women who lifted her up along the way.
Invisible Lives is the first scholarly study of transgendered people—cross-dressers, drag queens and transsexuals—and their everyday lives.
Through combined theoretical and empirical study, Viviane K. Namaste argues that transgendered people are not so much produced by medicine or psychiatry as they are erased, or made invisible, in a variety of institutional and cultural settings. Namaste begins her work by analyzing two theoretical perspectives on transgendered people—queer theory and the social sciences—displaying how neither of these has adequately addressed the issues most relevant to sex change: everything from employment to health care to identity papers. Namaste then examines some of the rhetorical and semiotic inscriptions of transgendered figures in culture, including studies of early punk and glam rock subcultures, to illustrate how the effacement of transgendered people is organized in different cultural sites. Invisible Lives concludes with new research on some of the day-to-day concerns of transgendered people, offering case studies in violence, health care, gender identity clinics, and the law.
Queen for a Day connects the logic of Venezuelan modernity with the production of a national femininity. In this ethnography, Marcia Ochoa considers how femininities are produced, performed, and consumed in the mass-media spectacles of international beauty pageants, on the runways of the Miss Venezuela contest, on the well-traveled Caracas avenue where transgender women (transformistas) project themselves into the urban imaginary, and on the bodies of both transformistas and beauty pageant contestants (misses). Placing transformistas and misses in the same analytic frame enables Ochoa to delve deeply into complex questions of media and spectacle, gender and sexuality, race and class, and self-fashioning and identity in Venezuela.
Beauty pageants play an outsized role in Venezuela. The country has won more international beauty contests than any other. The femininity performed by Venezuelan women in high-profile, widely viewed pageants defines a kind of national femininity. Ochoa argues that as transformistas and misses work to achieve the bodies, clothing and makeup styles, and postures and gestures of this national femininity, they come to embody Venezuelan modernity.
By empowering clients to be well informed medical consumers and by delivering care providers from the straitjacket of inadequate diagnostic standards and stereotypes, this book sets out to transform the nature of transgender care. In an accessible style, Gianna Israel and Donald Tarver discuss the key mental health issues, with much attention to the vexed relationship between professionals and clients. They propose a new professional role, that of the "Gender Specialist." The authors have also provided useful listings of organizations, centers, and World Wide Web sites.
Transgender Care has been reviewed by a national committee of professionals and consumers, some of whose members contributed essays in the second part of the book.
Although transgender people are increasingly represented in academic studies and popular culture, they rarely have the opportunity to add their own voices to the conversation. In this remarkable book, Jackson Shultz records the stories of more than thirty Americans who identify as transgender. They range in age from fifteen to seventy-two; come from twenty-five different states and a wide array of racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds; and identify across a vast spectrum of genders and sexualities. Giving voice to a diverse group of individuals, the book raises questions about gender, acceptance, and unconditional love. From historical descriptions of activism to personal stories of discrimination, love, and community, these touching accounts of gender transition shed light on the uncharted territories that lie beyond the gender binary. Despite encounters with familial rejection, drug addiction, and medical malpractice, each account is imbued with optimism and humor, providing a thoughtful look at the daily joys and struggles of transgender life. With an introduction and explanations from the author, this work will appeal to transgender individuals, their significant others, friends, family, and allies; health-care providers, educators, and legal professionals; and anyone questioning their own gender, considering transition, or setting out on their own transition journey.
With Respect to Sex is an intimate ethnography that offers a provocative account of sexual and social difference in India. The subjects of this study are hijras or the "third sex" of India—individuals who occupy a unique, liminal space between male and female, sacred and profane.
Hijras are men who sacrifice their genitalia to a goddess in return for the power to confer fertility on newlyweds and newborn children, a ritual role they are respected for, at the same time as they are stigmatized for their ambiguous sexuality. By focusing on the hijra community, Gayatri Reddy sheds new light on Indian society and the intricate negotiations of identity across various domains of everyday life. Further, by reframing hijra identity through the local economy of respect, this ethnography highlights the complex relationships among local and global, sexual and moral, economies.
This book will be regarded as the definitive work on hijras, one that will be of enormous interest to anthropologists, students of South Asian culture, and specialists in the study of gender and sexuality.
Told with humor and flair, this is the autobiography of one transsexual's wild ride from boyhood as Alfred Brevard ("Buddy") Crenshaw in rural Tennessee to voluptuous female entertainer in Hollywood. Aleshia Brevard, as she is now known, underwent transitional surgery in Los Angeles in 1962, one of the first such operations in the United States. (The famous sexual surgery pioneer Harry Benjamin himself broke the news to Brevard's parents.)
Under the stage name Lee Shaw, Brevard worked as a drag queen at Finocchio's, a San Francisco club, doing Marilyn Monroe impersonations. (Like Marilyn, she sought romance all the time and had a string of entanglements with men.) Later, she worked as a stripper in Reno and as a Playboy Bunny at the Sunset Strip hutch.
After playing opposite Don Knotts in the movie The Love God, Brevard appeared in other films and broke into TV as a regular on the Red Skelton Show. She created the role of Tex on the daytime soap opera One Life To Live. As a woman, Brevard returned to teach theater at East Tennessee State, the same university she had attended as a boy.
This memoir is a rare pre-Women's Movement account of coming to terms with gender identity. Brevard writes frankly about the degree to which she organized her life around pleasing men, and how absurd it all seems to her now.