The Riddle of Gender
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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.
that females have a greater gift for forming long-lasting intimate friendships. As teenagers, these young men developed an interest in tabletop war games, in which players build and paint fantasy armies and engage in battles based on a complicated set of rules and strategies. I can testify that in my many visits to the Games Workshop, where the armies are purchased and the tournaments played, I have never seen a female player or a female employee—only other mothers like me, anxiously clutching
diminish. He looked to science for an explanation, and discovered the work of the “hormone hunters,” as he termed the early endocrinologists whose experiments with animals and human beings had pointed to a link between virility and vitality. Enthusiastically, de Kruif shared with his readers his quest for rejuvenation and the history of the science that had made rejuvenation possible. He narrated the tale of Arnold Adolf Berthold, professor of physiology at the University of Gottingen, who in
story to the newspapers. “To me that message was a symbol of a brutal and cruel betrayal,” Jorgensen writes years later. “A lifetime of agonizing unhappiness, two years of medical treatment and two surgical operations had been telescoped into a couple of succinct lines on a telegraph form, and I knew without being told that it would go far beyond that hospital room.” By the time the twenty-four-year-old photographer returned to the United States, in February 1953, after two life-transforming
but was unable to find a urologist in the United States willing to perform surgery. He advised the boy (and his mother) to travel to Germany for the operation. When the Jorgensen story broke, in 1953, Harry Benjamin was sixty-seven years old and looking forward to retirement. He had enjoyed a long and a productive career, and as his geriatric patients died, he stopped acquiring new ones. He recruited Virginia Allen, a doctor’s wife whom he had met at a meeting a few years earlier, to help him
That’s also true of certain kinds of rock and roll, isn’t it? You can be anything you want to be onstage, and no one bats an eye. CHELSEA : I want to say something about music, because it’s something that gets ignored. Music helped me come out. Lou Reed’s Transformer album, okay, helped immensely. [Sings] “Holly came from Miami FLA / Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A. / Plucked her eyebrows on the way / shaved her legs and then he was a she.” Later on, I actually met Holly Woodlawn, after I was