Book review: Transgender Persons and the Law, by Ally Windsor Howell

Howell Transgender Persons and the LawHowell, Ally Windsor. Transgender Persons and the Law, 2nd ed. ABA. 2015. $130.00. 343 p. PB. 978-1-63425-036-8

While this book is much pricier than Transgender Family Law, edited by Jennifer L. Levi & Elizabeth E. Monnin-Bowder and published in 2012, the coverage is correspondingly broader. Howell has addressed military service and veterans, health care, using public facilities, schools, housing, employment, violence, imprisonment, and immigration, in addition to family law and changing identity documents. There are ten appendices which occupy a full third of the book and include a glossary, a list of companies providing trans-supportive health insurance, and various gender-related laws of states, cities, and counties, from changing identity documents to non-discrimination ordinances.

In some chapters the author goes beyond a simple analysis of the law to a wider examination of social issues. This is particularly evident in the chapter on “Personal Safety” which explores the failure to be inclusive of service agencies for victims of domestic violence. The author provides useful guidance on how abusive behaviors manifest in transgender relationships.

Given the price and the publisher, the frequency of typographical errors is unexpected. Also surprising is that the book was published without waiting for the outcome of this year’s Supreme Court decision on marriage equality which rendered the information and appendix on state marriage laws moot. This rush into print may be explained by the death of the author at the beginning of March, 2015.

Transgender Persons and the Law is readable by laypersons and, in some places, seems more addressed to them than to lawyers. It certainly belongs in all law collections and will find use in public and academic libraries whether or not they are aware of having users who are transgender.

Reviewed by: Carolyn Caywood,
retired from Virginia Beach Public Library

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