The Transgender Issue
‘This is a monumental work and utterly convincing – crystal clear in its understanding of how the world should be’ Judith Butler
‘This book feels like a moment. It’s heartfelt but analytical, in-depth and utterly humane. A landmark piece of work’ Sinead Gleeson
Trans people in Britain today have become a culture war ‘issue’. Despite making up less than one per cent of the country’s population, they are 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.
In this powerful new book, Shon Faye reclaims the idea of the ‘transgender issue’ to uncover the reality of what it means to be trans in a transphobic society. In doing so, she provides a compelling, wide-ranging analysis of trans lives from youth to old age, exploring work, family, housing, healthcare, the prison system and trans participation in the LGBTQ+ and feminist communities, in contemporary Britain and beyond.
The Transgender Issue is a landmark work that signals the beginning of a new, healthier conversation about trans life. It is a manifesto for change, and a call for justice and solidarity between all marginalized people and minorities. Trans liberation, as Faye sees it, goes to the root of what our society is and what it could be; it offers the possibility of a more just, free and joyful world for all of us.
There is a full-blown moral panic under way in Britain about trans people, and The Transgender Issue is the wake-up call we need. It is an inspiring call for coalition, across the divides of class, race, sexual identity and gender. Shon Faye shows with courage and clarity that the struggle of trans people is the struggle of us all. This book is a game-changer. -- Owen Jones Shon Faye has written a book that models clarity in its writing and its moral vision. Focused on the UK, this book will doubtless have a strong and lasting impact in the world. One learns here how to distinguish between arguments that merit a response and those which should be refused because they are either cruel or stupid. This is a monumental work and utterly convincing - crystal clear in its understanding of how the world should be. -- Judith Butler, Professor, University of California Berkeley The Transgender Issue is an urgent interrogation of the manufactured moral panic which scapegoats and marginalises trans people. With precision, wit, and clarity, Shon Faye exposes how cultural and institutional discrimination against transgender people makes all of us less free. If you're sick of seeing people's humanity reduced to cannon fodder for the culture war, read this book. -- Ash Sarkar With clarity, precision and great humanity, Faye definitively draws to a close the harmful debate on trans lives, supporting her findings with iron-clad evidence. Truly the final word on the matter, this is a book for anyone who wants our society to be a kinder, fairer, more inclusive one. -- Juno Dawson This book feels like a moment. In clear and eloquent writing, Shon Faye expands the discussion around trans history and experience, the huge impact on BAME trans people, and how economic and political inequalities intersect with trans experience. It's heartfelt but analytical, in-depth and utterly humane. Faye, with calm intelligence, unpacks so many of the problematic ways trans people are marginalised and discriminated against, with so many acts of violence perpetrated on trans bodies. I learned a lot from this book and it adds hugely to a wider conversation around inclusion of and support for our trans sisters and brothers. A landmark piece of work. -- Sinead Gleeson With extraordinary clarity and intellectual vigour, Shon Faye cuts through the concern-trolling, the sly bigotry, and the unserious moral panics that so often characterise the discourse surrounding transgender lives. Though she writes out of the authority of experience, her work transcends the personal, making a plain and impassioned case for solidarity and human rights. The result is an invigorating and deeply researched polemic, and a necessary addition to the evolving conversation on civil rights in the twenty-first century. -- Mark O'Connell A clear, intelligent, experience-based explanation of why the scapegoating of trans people must stop, while enthusiastically encouraging more trans people to join feminist, anti-racist movements for economic and social change. -- Sarah Schulman
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