Book review: Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community, edited by Laura Erickson-Schroth

Trans bodiesTrans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community. Ed. by Laura Erickson-Schroth. Oxford University Press. 2014. $39.95. 647p. PB. 978-0-19-932535-1.

Edited by psychiatrist and Columbia University Medical Center fellow Laura Erickson-Schroth, this resource guide offers an immense, wide-reaching, and extremely well-done resource guide. Each of the six parts, with three to six chapters per part, is authored by experts in the different fields, with a multitude of inserts with other people sharing their thoughts, ideas, theories, and stories. The first section, “Who We Are,” focuses on the multiplicity of identities that are intersectional with trans identities. Section Two, “Living As Ourselves,” engages with day-to-day societal issues related to being trans. The third part, “Health and Wellness,” covers both the nuts and bolts of physical transition and other health issues. While the fourth section, “Our Relationships and Families” relates to intimacy and parenting,”Life Stages,” Section Five, addresses issues common to trans children, young adults, and elders. The final part,”Claiming Our Power,” concludes the work with an overview of trans history, politics, and art.

Each chapter incorporates results from a national survey conducted with the planning of the text. The inclusion of so many sidebars and asides has the potential to be extremely confusing, but the clear layout of the text allows readers to follow the content in a logical way without having to flip back and forth between pages or text blocks. The writing style and format is uniform throughout the work. Any inconsistencies due to the collaborative nature of the book do not significantly detract from the value of the information presented or from the text as a complete narrative.

As an urban transsexual with extensive experience within trans communities, I found that Erickson-Schroth truly captures the disparate and fragmented nature of opinions within the trans communities. I heartily disagreed with many of the quotations and text blocks and firmly approved of others–many adjacent in the text! Trans Bodies, Trans Selves excellently-portrays the complicated, multi-layered, broad spectrum of the trans umbrella.

I recommended this work for all public libraries as well as many academic or special libraries.

Reviewer: Kyle Lukoff
Librarian, Corlears School, New York

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