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Transgender Warriors:
Making History from Joan of Arc to RuPaul

Leslie Feinberg

1996, Beacon Press

212 Pages

From the Cover

In this fascinating personal journey through history, Leslie Feinberg - one of the most prominent transgender rights activists today - unearths a vast body of evidence that throughout history there have always been people who defy cultural boundaries of sex and gender.

During an embattled childhood and teenage years as a gender outlaw, Feinberg began a search for others struggling to assert an identity.  What s/he found was a long tradition of individuals fighting back against injustice - from Joan of Arc to the Welsh peasants who cross-dressed to protest taxes, from the Black and Latina drag queens who led the Stonewall rebellion to transsexual parents fighting for custody today.   Traditional society often exacted a terrible price from these transgender warriors, and Feinberg urges us now to receive them as hero/ines and visionaries.

Illustrated with many previously unpublished historical images and contemporary photographs, Transgender Warriors is an eye-opening excursion through the history of sex and gender expression and a powerful testament to the resilient and rebellious spirit.

Table of Contents

1. The Journey Begins
2. My Path to Consciousness
3. The Give Away
4. They Called Her "Hommasse"
5. Our Sacred Past
6. Why Bigotry Began
7. But They Had Slaves!
8. Natural Becomes "Unnatural"
9. "Holy War" against Trans People
10. Leading the Charge
11. Not Just Passing
12. From Germany to Stonewall
13. To Be or Not to Be
14. Sisterhood: Make It Real!
15. Making History

Portrait Gallery

Appendix A - International Gender Bill of Rights
Appendix B - Transgender Organizations
Appendix C - Transgender Publications

Readers' Comments


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Diane Sutton 

This is an important book for many reasons, one of which is its wide distribution among the general populace, and, hence, the relatively large number of people who are aware of it. It is has a lot of 'hits' on the Web. The book itself has several different parts. Feinberg's story is intensely personal and compelling. She writes in the preface "I grew up thinking that the hatred I faced because of my gender expression was simply a by-product of human nature, and that it must be my fault that I was a target for such outrage. I don't want any young person to ever believe that's true again, and so I wrote this book to lay bare the roots and tendrils of sex and gender oppression." When I first read this, the historical material was new to me and gave me some roots I had been looking for. I found the social and economic class struggle argument less satisfying, but I can't outright reject the issues she raises. The book is worth its price alone just for the Portrait Gallery which shows in photographs and profiles just how diverse the trans community is. There is a web site at www.transgenderwarrior.org.

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brian k devon  thumperbkd@aol.com

i believe you have writen the ultimate book. it details all of my intermost feelings. when shared with my family and friends, they immediately stated that they "finally understood the things i was feeling". i believe this bookshould be placed in everyones hands, young and old alike. i feel it could help stop the bigottry that is so previlent in todays society. thank you very much for writing this book, as well as the others. i admire your ability to write these books and to get up in front of people and talk about this. again, thank you. brian