The Transgender Issue

An Argument for Justice

Paperback, 320 pages

Published by Verso.

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4 stars (2 reviews)

In this brilliant introduction to trans politics, journalist Shon Faye gives an incisive overview of systemic transphobia and argues that the struggle for trans rights is necessary to any struggle for social justice.

So often, Faye argues, trans people are understood as a “side issue,” the subjects of a toxic and increasingly polarized debate which generates reliable controversy for newspapers and talk shows. This media frenzy conceals a simple fact: that we are having the wrong conversation, a conversation in which trans people themselves are reduced to a talking point and denied a meaningful voice.

With skill, rigor, and heart, Faye uncovers the reality of what it means to be trans in a transphobic society. In this compellingly readable study, she explores issues of class, family, housing, healthcare, sex work, the prison system, and trans participation in the LGBTQ+ and feminist communities. What she finds, ultimately, is that when we …

3 editions

Really good, for the right audience

4 stars

Content warning transphobia

Review of 'The Transgender Issue' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Here we have another case of "great content, flawed execution".

First things first: this book is great. Shon Faye is right about 99.9% the things she says, and there are no two pages in this book where I didn't underline at least one sentence of the "louder for the people in the back" variety. She accurately details a huge number of problems trans people are faced with today, in general and in Britain in particular; she describes the various ways transphobia can express itself, highlights the crucial intersections between the liberations of trans, disabled, and BAME/BIPoC people, and all the ways in which trans people's liberation is inseparably connected with the struggle of the working class for freedom. She debunks several transphobic myths, dissects the media-driven moral panic about us, describes in detail the unholy alliance between reactionary "feminists" and American neo-nazis, and envisions a better world in which workers' …