Suggested Readings for Building Trans Inclusive Feminist Peace Activism NEW
Below you will find a list of reading materials that document and explore various Transgender histories and experiences. We hope to compile a list of literature that explores the experiences of Transgender individuals from across the globe and across cultures, with a selection of academic books, academic articles, memoirs, and fictional accounts. This is not by any means an exhaustive list; if you have any recommendations to add, please email [insert email address here].
This book list has been created in response to the organisation’s commitment to develop a more Trans inclusive feminist space. If you are interested in joining our upcoming reading groups, some of the reading materials may be selected from this list, but it not necessary to read all the following texts if you want to join our reading groups – these are just suggestions for your own reading!
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- Transgender History, Susan Stryker
Stryker, S. (2017) Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution, 2nd edn., USA: Seal Press.
A comprehensive and insightful account of the history of the US Trans movement over the 20th and 21st centuries, Stryker book takes a Western perspective when discussing Trans activism and its often-conflicted relationship with both LGBTQ+ and Feminist movements. The success of the book is its discussion of how these conflicted relations are in fact counter-productive, since the anger fuelling each movement stems from the same desire – a freedom from the patriarchy and its limiting and impossible gender standards.
- Tomorrow Will Be Different, Sarah McBride
McBride, S., 2018. Tomorrow will be different. 2nd ed. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Written by current Delaware US State Senator, this memoir is a deeply personal account of her own experience as a Trans woman and her role in the fight for Trans-inclusive governmentality in the US. An important aspect of her memoir is the inclusion of her husband’s (a Trans man) story battling cancer in a medical system which favours non-Trans bodies. Her biography highlights the importance of policy change in in giving a voice to the Trans community. It is a poignant and hopeful message to the future.
- Cutting to the Roots of Colonial Masculinity, Scott L Morgensen (chapter)
Morgensen, S.L. (2015) ‘Cutting to the Roots of Colonial Masculinity’, in Anderson, K. and Innes, R.A. [ed] (ed.) Indigenous Men and Masculinities: Legacies, Identities, Regeneration. Winnipeg, Manitoba: University of Manitoba Press, pp. 38-57.
This chapter discusses the part the European concept of a two-gendered binary had to play in the colonisation of the Americas by the Settlers. Indigenous communities had a more fluid perception of gender, which was used by European settlers as proof of Indigenous ‘inferiority’ and White European ‘superiority’. Morgensen discusses how the gender-binary rules Settlers brought over intertwined with patriarchy, misogyny, morality and fear, and how this contributed to the eradication of Indigenous culture and torture of Indigenous populations.
- Two-Spirit Identity in a Time of Gender Fluidity, Margaret Robinson
Robinson, M. (2019) ‘Two-Spirit Identity in a Time of Gender Fluidity’, Journal of Homosexuality, 67(12), pp. 1675-1690 [Online]. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00918369.2019.1613853?journalCode=wjhm20 (Accessed: 19th July 2021).
The focus of Robinson’s article is the importance of culturally specific language and self-identification for gender fluid people in Indigenous communities. Robinson discusses how due to the eradication of much Indigenous culture by White European Settlers, there is a need for Indigenous communities to have their own culturally specific language to self-identify. Robinson focusses on the Indigenous term ‘Two-Spirit’ and argues that when Western LGBTQIA+ members adopt this term for themselves, it is just another form of colonisation.
- Two-Spirit Aboriginal People: Continuing Cultural Appropriation by Non-Aboriginal Society, Michelle Cameron
Cameron, M. (2005) ‘Two-Spirited Aboriginal People: Continuing Cultural Appropriation by Non-Aboriginal Society’, Canadian Woman Studies, 24(25), pp. 123-127.
This short article looks at the Indigenous term ‘Two-Spirit’ and the importance of keeping it culturally specific to Indigenous communities. Cameron highlights the importance of culturally specific language, and the dangers of cultural appropriation when the term ‘Two-Spirit’ is used by Western societies.
- Introduction: Trans-, Trans, or Transgender?, Susan Stryker, Paisley Currah, Lisa Jean Moore
Currah, P., Moore, L.J. and Stryker, S. (2008) ‘Intrduction: Trans-, Trans, or Transgender?’, Women’s Studies Quarterly, 36(3/4), pp. 11-22 [Online]. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/27649781 (Accessed: 20th July 2021).
This is the introduction to the 2008 Fall-Winter edition of Women’s Studies Quarterly Journal. The authors discuss the importance of language, specifically what Trans means. They discuss a strict gender binary as a creation of control – by fitting men and women into a fixed space. Trans-, however transcends this binary, allowing movement between and around it. The piece looks at the importance of the word Trans as a political tool to question and attack the restrictive gender binary.
- Trans Antiquity
Campanile, D., Carlà-Uhink, F. and Facella, M. [ed.] (2017) Trans Antiquity: Cross-Dressing and Transgender Dynamics in the Ancient World, 2nd edn., UK: Routledge.
Comprised of 13 independent essays, this book discusses the role of cross-dressing in the Ancient World – often focussing on Graeco-Roman societies. The book highlights a common theme of the dangers cross-dressing (both male-to-female and female-to-male) posed to masculine authority. In lieu of this, we see a scary similarity between the Ancient world’s view of gender fluidity and today’s world, which is based on the idea of masculine superiority. The book highlights the lionisation of masculinity in men and vilification of masculinity in women; the lionisation of femininity in women and the vilification of femininity in men. Underlying it all is the patriarchal ideal of a gender binary of man and woman – all too often disguised as morality.
- The Trans*-ness of Blackness, the Blackness of Trans*-ness, Marquis Bey
Bey, M. (2017) ‘The Trans*-Ness of Blackness, the Blackness of Trans*-Ness’, Transgender Studies Quarterly, 4(2), pp. 275-295 [Online]. Available at: https://read.dukeupress.edu/tsq/article-abstract/4/2/275/84796/The-Trans-Ness-of-Blackness-the-Blackness-of-Trans?redirectedFrom=fulltext (Accessed: 7th September 2021).
Bey discusses ‘Blackness’ and ‘Transness’ as notions that are innately linked because they both redefine the socially accepted idea of human as white and gender-conforming. Because Blackness and Transness have no roots in our white supremacist, heteronormative and gender-conforming system, both are synonymous with movement: a movement above and away from said system. Bey argues that taking an approach which acknowledges the interrelatedness of blackness and transness as ways of being that cross the boundaries of the system, will allow for “uncovering the skeletons” of all types of systematic oppression.
- Gender’s Nature: Intersexuality, transsexualism, and the ‘sex’/’gender’ binary, Myra J. Hird
Hird, M.J. (2000) ‘Gender’s nature: Intersexuality, transsexualism and the ‘sex’/’gender’ binary’, Feminist Theory, 1(3), pp. 347-364 [Online]. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/146470010000100305 (Accessed: 7th September 2021).
The idea of the sex/gender binary, in which sex is natural and gender is socially constructed, has come under some criticism in recent years. In recent years, there has been a growing understanding that sex, too, can be considered a social construct. Hird writes that people who identify as Transexual or Intersex are key to understand this argument, due to ambiguous genitalia which is often then modified and ‘recreated’ by medical professionals. Hird progresses by discussing how feminist movements that accept the traditional idea of two biological sexes merely reinforce differences they aim to resist.
- Philosophical Problems with the Gender-Critical Feminist Argument against Trans Inclusion, Aleardo Zanghellini
Zanghellini, A. (2020) ‘Philosophical Problems with the Gender-Critical Feminist Argument Against Trans Inclusion’, Creative Commons, 10(2), pp. 1-14 [Online]. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2158244020927029(Accessed: 7th September 2021).
Zanghellini’s article outlines the main arguments used by Gender-Critical Feminists (sometimes referred to as Trans Exclusionary Racial Feminists – TERFs) to justify the exclusion of Transgender people, then outlines the inherent problems within their arguments. This article is particularly useful to read because it explores the hypocrisies of one of the most commonly heard arguments: that allowing Transgender women into traditionally cis-gendered women’s spaces will compromise cis-gendered women’s safety.