How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States

How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States Review

How Sex Changed is a fascinating social, cultural, and medical history of transsexuality in the United States. Joanne Meyerowitz tells a powerful human story about people who had a deep and unshakable desire to transform their bodily sex. In the last century when many challenged the social categories and hierarchies of race, class, and gender, transsexuals questioned biological sex itself, the category that seemed most fundamental and fixed of all.

From early twentieth-century sex experiments in Europe, to the saga of Christine Jorgensen, whose sex-change surgery made headlines in 1952, to today's growing transgender movement, Meyerowitz gives us the first serious history of transsexuality. She focuses on the stories of transsexual men and women themselves, as well as a large supporting cast of doctors, scientists, journalists, lawyers, judges, feminists, and gay liberationists, as they debated the big questions of medical ethics, nature versus nurture, self and society, and the scope of human rights.

In this story of transsexuality, Meyerowitz shows how new definitions of sex circulated in popular culture, science, medicine, and the law, and she elucidates the tidal shifts in our social, moral, and medical beliefs over the twentieth century, away from sex as an evident biological certainty and toward an understanding of sex as something malleable and complex. How Sex Changed is an intimate history that illuminates the very changes that shape our understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality today.

Title:How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • This is a history of transsexuality in Western culture in the last half of the 20th century, and how it came to be seen as a legitimate disorder that requires treatment. The author uses Christine Jorg...

  • A good jumping-off point for what will hopefully become a larger historical interpretation of postwar American transsexuality. Meyerowitz tends to go heavy on description and narration, eschewing pote...

  • Best book written to date on transsexual history. You go, Joanne! It's right there on my desk to use as a ready reference while I write the quickie book I owe Seal Press on the history of the transgen...

  • How Sex Changed is an intersectional study on the changing social and medical definitions of sex and how transsexuals navigated both spheres during the twentieth century. Meyerowitz’s history of tra...

  • Meyerowitz is a fantastic writer who is able to take multiple actors or fields of knowledge and weave them coherently into a narrative that is accessible and enjoyable to read. While her focus on tell...

  • How Sex Changed is a solid objective history on transsexuality in the United States. Having no knowledge of this field, I found the book enlightening even if it was heavily hinged on the milestone o...

  • This book was a very thorough recount of the history of transsexuality emerging through the 1920's and advancing in the 1990's. Joanne Meyerowitz definitely did her research since gender is her specia...

  • I read excerpts of this book for a class but ended up reading more of it later out of interest. I thought it was a great foray into the history of a still very much silenced part of the queer communit...

  • This is a history of transsexuality, starting with Christine Jorgenen, who was a big phenomenon in the popular press in the 50s, up to the end of the 20th century. Pretty interesting if you're not so ...

  • I found it very interesting. It reads like a history book, which I liked. The one flaw is that it was written in the early 2000's and is a bit outdated. Most everything I have come across about teams ...