Exploring Gender Identity

Book Reviews

Book Reading Dark hairHere are the gender related books I have read so far and my review of them, not including articles or journals. I suggest exploring the books that call to you.  They will be ones that seem to jump off the webpage or shelf as you scan titles.

Understanding Transgender Diversity, A Sensible Explanation of Sexual and Gender Identities, by Claire Ruth Winter

This is a recent book having been published in November 2010, so the terminology and content are up to date. The glossary and associated research is extensive at the back of the book taking up 23 pages. Claire offers a short biography of her life with a few telling photos. I must say that this book is very well written. Her skill with the English language is pleasing and easy to read. The content offered is also right on the mark. I can see this book taking the place of “True Selves” as “the” book to explain transgender to family, friends, and co-workers. The material is very similar to my eBook, Sex and Sexuality offered on this website. She does it with a little better explanation and from a different perspective. If you are coming out or have someone in your life that needs to Understand Transgender Diversity better then I highly recommend reading this book. And of course my eBook, Sex and Sexuality offered as a free download.


Wrapped in Blue: A Journey of Discovery, by Donna Rose

This book touched me to my soul!! This book is a close second to Annah Moore’s book. The soulfulness that she puts into this story is profound and I thank Donna for this. She puts her very life before you and focuses on the important things in life, such as love and relationships. She shares her joys and her sorrows and I am coming away with a deeper understanding of the Transsexual Journey. I also learned a few things about surgery in this book which were enlightening, so that is good. Donna says, the transsexual journey is not about gender but about self and I could not agree more! Our journey is one of self discovery and self expression, gender is just part of that.


As Nature Made Him: The boy who was raised as a girl, by John Colapinto

This book shook me to my bones in the realization of how a physician can affect someone’s life. As well intentioned as John Money was and I do believe that he was well intentioned, he let his drive for fame and success cloud his judgment and in turn greatly set gender medicine back. The number of intersexed and transgender children he influenced including myself is profoundly sad! I had to do a long meditation on forgiveness after reading this book, and now I can see the bigger picture of my life and why I did not transition at 17 when I first considered it. Blessings to you John Money on your journey of love, may you find peace.


Right Side Out: In-tune Within, To Be In Harmony With The World , by Annah Moore

Annah is so honest and compelling in this book that I cannot put into words what I felt as I read Right Side Out. She has a way of weaving her life’s story into a tale of transgenderism that anyone can relate to. She tells us how she copes and provides wonderful examples. I came away with such wonderful hope and peace after reading her book. This gave me the courage I needed to move forward. Looking back over all the gender related books I have read so far, this book is my favorite for reasons that are difficult to put into words. Maybe it is that I can feel a connection with her that is so loving and supporting from a person who truly cares. Thank you Annah for sharing with us all!


Lannie: My journey from man to woman, by Lannie Rose

I remember this book as the funniest and a joy to read. The story once again is one that I can relate to and I was swept away in Lannie’s journey from man to woman. Her description of relationships with men struck close to my heart and I so feel for her.


She’s Not There: A life in two Genders, By Jennifer Finney Boylan

I love this book for its exploration of relationships. The ones that as a transsexual we often find so difficult. Having lived in Maine for a short time I can also relate to her story which is so well written as a piece of literature. This was my first book I read about transsexual life and experiences so it will always hold a special place in my heart.


The Color of Sunlight by Michelle Alexander, RN and Michelle Diane Rose

“A true story of unconditional acceptance between a rural RN and a blind, terminally ill transsexual.” This is a detailed story of three years in which the subject Michelle educates the author about what it means to be both blind and transsexual. The story is an epiphany for the author and is quite beautiful how the story comes together. I salute the author for publishing this interesting story. The book is over 350 pages which I found a bit long and overly detailed. I do like the emphasis the author places on education however and there are great resources at the end of the book. It is also interesting that a blind person would still insist on transitioning even though they could not see what they looked like. It is almost better that way, however she …. sorry I was about to spoil the story. I hope you enjoy reading this one.


This is Not My Life, by Michelle Peterson
The Gender story does not start till page 73 in a 106 page book.  It is a series of short snippets of the author’s life, one conflict to the next.  Her behavior and that of her partners seems very juvenile to me.  Perhaps this could be a coming of age story with a snippet of her relationship to a Trans* husband, her third or fourth (I lost count).  Despite the immaturity of the author and the simplistic writing style the story carries a powerful message from a different perspective than we normally hear; one from the spouse and not the person transitioning.  The author seems sincere in her telling; however at times the story seems inauthentic, like she is playing the victim.  In the end though she does step outside this victim mentality and all ends well at the beginning of her mature life.
Transitioning is difficult for the person going through it, but we often forget about the people we love and the pain they go through trying to understand this transformation.  The person in transition takes all whom they love with them!  This of course is no excuse to stop transition; in fact it is motivation to move forward.  As Neale Donald Walsch says in his book, “When Everything Changes, Change Everything” – All change is for the better!
There is other wisdom within this story; however I will leave that to the reader to discern.  This book has simplistic writing and an amateurish feel to it, but on the level of story this tale of courage and maturation takes the reader through a journey that leaves them better for the reading.

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