Reading transgender, rethinking women's studies

Cressida J. Heyes
University of Alberta
Representing the best popular and scholarly contributions to transgender/ sex studies, and with their mutual concern with female-to-male sex and gender crossing (among other topics), these three books mark an important shift in scholarship on gender and sexuality. Trans studies has reached a level of autonomy and sophistication that firmly establishes it as a field with its own theoretical and political questions. Of course, connections to feminist and queer theory are still very apparent in these texts, and all three authors are committed—to varying degrees—to reading trans identities against the backdrop of male dominance and heteronormativity. It’s no longer enough, however, for feminist readers to dismiss the projects of trans theorists and activists as epiphenomenal to feminist discourses or even queer theory, or to view trans studies as an optional extra in discussions of sex and gender. These books represent the best arguments against this position, and thus offer a new challenge to the inclusivity, scope, and terms of “women’s studies.”.
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