cover image Trans Liberation CL

Trans Liberation CL

Leslie Feinberg. Beacon Press (MA), $14 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-8070-7950-8

This collection of occasionally repetitious talks that Feinberg gave in the spring of 1997 is balanced by the inclusion of interviews with other ""transgender warriors."" Feinberg (Stone Butch Blues; Transgender Warriors) continues here her explication of prevalent gender ""dogma""--of ""what it means to be a `real' woman or a `real' man""--and assesses medical professionals' treatment of society's ""Others."" The latter category includes women like herself, and men in the process of evolving alternative gender identities and who thus present a ""social contradiction"": ""I've lived parts of my life as a straight woman, as a butch dyke, as a man--both straight and faggot,"" says one. Capsule portraits include Latino ""lesbian"" Michael Hernandez, Stonewall veteran Sylvia Rivera and Craig Hickman, who invokes RuPaul's dictum that ""gender is performance."" Feinberg highlights outdated legal statutes prohibiting cross-dressing, and the social and economic consequences of their implementation. She also discusses ""gender reassignment"" surgery, which she says is standard practice in the U.S. for infants born with seemingly ambiguous genitalia, but which she sees as more of a service to worried parents than for the children. Above all, Feinberg seeks a reordering of society, with unity as the ultimate goal, and gives frequent examples of the commonalities that transcend race, social class, physical abilities and gender. The material here was meant to be delivered orally, giving the text an immediacy that makes the message all the more compelling, although readers familiar with Feinberg's earlier writings will find it somewhat repetitive. (Oct.)