The Transgender Issue

An Instant Bestseller in the Sunday Times Non Fiction List in its first week of publication. The Transgender Issue written by Shon Faye. I had pre-ordered the book  and have found it to be a really refreshing and compelling read. Shon Faye talks about Trans Liberation rather than Trans rights  and indeed the whole polemic is that Trans Liberation will benefit all society. The basic concept is political and a call for “solidarity between all marginalised people and minorities”. 

The book quite simply is a thorough examination of  what it means to be transgender in society from childhood, adolescence right through to old age. Shon Faye does this by analysing the effect in the workplace, in housing, healthcare as well as how being trans fits in, or not, with the LGBTQ+ and feminist communities.

Dealing with the current debate over trans matters in the press which has become increasingly polarised Shon Faye says we are having the wrong conversation. It is not about trans rights are human rights, trans people are not joining in a conversation but have rather become “a talking point and are denied a meaningful voice”. 

The book was being written at a time when society was changing. People were beginning to think there was a possibility of change, maybe not everyone needed to go into an office every day, there was a growing disconnect with politicians, the black lives matters movement developed, a growing feeling against racism, that climate change is a reality. 

Shon Faye argues that seeking equality in a corrupt society is not a desired outcome. Society needs to change and it is with a left wing agenda where all minorities and marginalised groups are able to come together and create genuine social freedom and equality for all by using “conceptual tools of structured politics and collective action’ with a shared hope for a better world”. 

I was particularly moved by her final sentences in the book:-

“Hope is part of the Human condition and trans people’s hope is our proof that we are fully human. We are not an issue to b debated and derided. We are symbols of hope for many non-trans people too , who see in our lives the possibility of living more fully and freely. That is why some people hate us they are frightened by the gleaming opulence of our freedom. Our existence enriches this world”.

For now this seems to be something which is not yet possible to grasp, that right now is out of reach. However, it also feels that the time is now and the time is right for such a radical approach to challenge the cynical capitalist world in which we live.

Judith Butler endorses the book by saying “This is a monumental work and utterly convincing- crystal clear in its understanding of how the world should be”. 

Unlike many books written about transgender “issues” this impeccably researched and annotated and I recommend it as a must read by anyone, trans or not, who believes there has to be a better way and change is necessary. 

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