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The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism, and Transgender Rights
The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism, and Transgender Rights
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The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism, and Transgender Rights

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Author: Rudacille, Deborah

Brand: Anchor

Color: Black

Edition: Reprint

Features:

  • Anchor Books

Number Of Pages: 400

Release Date: 14-02-2006

Details: Product Description When Deborah Rudacille learned that a close friend had decided to transition from female to male, she felt compelled to understand why. Coming at the controversial subject of transsexualism from several angles–historical, sociological, psychological, medical–Rudacille discovered that gender variance is anything but new, that changing one’s gender has been met with both acceptance and hostility through the years, and that gender identity, like sexual orientation, appears to be inborn, not learned, though in some people the sex of the body does not match the sex of the brain. Informed not only by meticulous research, but also by the author’s interviews with prominent members of the transgender community, The Riddle of Gender is a sympathetic and wise look at a sexual revolution that calls into question many of our most deeply held assumptions about what it means to be a man, a woman, and a human being. Review “Sympathetic and well-researched. . . . Lively enough to be a good introduction for the educated lay reader and documented enough for the scholar.” – Publishers Weekly “Amazing! This is the long-awaited fusion of science, criticism, and compassion that scholars of gender–and everybody else–have been waiting for. The Riddle of Gender is meticulous, funny, brilliant, and readable. . . . Not just for those interested in the enigmas of sex and gender, but for those interested in the universal mystery of how we become ourselves.” –Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There: a Life in Two Genders About the Author Deborah Rudacille is a science writer at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of The Scalpel and the Butterfly: The Conflict Between Animal Research and Animal Protection. She lives in Baltimore. Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. One THE HANDS OF GOD I began the research for this book in the way that I approach every scientific subject that interests me, by searching the literature. I soon discovered that far from being a product of the modern world, gender variance has been documented across cultures and in every epoch of history. Male-bodied persons dressing and living as women and female-bodied persons dressing and living as men were known in ancient Greece and Rome, among Native American tribes prior to the arrival of Europeans, on the Indian subcontinent, in Africa, in Siberia, in Eastern Europe, and in nearly every other indigenous society studied by anthropologists. According to historian Vern Bullough, "gender crossing is so ubiquitous, that genitalia by itself has never been a universal nor essential insignia of a lifelong gender." In some of these cultures, cross-gendered persons were considered shamans gifted with extraordinary psychic powers, and they assumed special ceremonial roles. In many religions, the gods themselves can transform their sex at will, cross-dress, or are androgynous. Our Judeo-Christian heritage, founded on a belief in an exclusively male deity, has frowned on such gender fluidity; nonetheless, throughout the Middle Ages and even into the modern era, cross-dressing has been permitted and indeed celebrated at festivals, in clubs, and on the stage. Moreover, the deathbed discovery of a gender reversal is a far more common occurrence in Western history than one might suspect. Many (though not all) of the persons whose names and stories are known to us today were born female and lived some or all of their lives as men. A few of the better-known individuals in this category include James Barry, British army physician and Inspector-General, died 1865; Charles Durkee Pankhurst, California stagecoach driver, died 1879; Murray Hall, Tammany Hall politician, died 1901; Jack Bee Garland, soldier in the Spanish-American War, died 1936; and Billy Tipton, jazz trumpeter, died 1989. Some of these people were married to women, who publicly expressed shock and amazement when their partners died and were found to be other than what

EAN: 9780385721974

Languages: English

Binding: Paperback

Item Condition: UsedLikeNew