Review: CN Lester – Trans Like Me

Trans Like Me
CN Lester

“What does it mean to be transgender? How do we discuss the subject? In this eye-opening book, CN Lester, academic and activist, takes us on a journey through some of the most pressing issues concerning the trans debate”

This is likely to be an alienating book. What self-respecting straight cis-gendered person would want to be caught reading it? Well, they should want to be caught reading it, because it’s a good book with plenty of helpful information and insights. The publicizing of ‘Call me Caitlin’ and the like should hopefully bring this book to the fore as a ‘real’ or ‘regular’ person’s journey in being trans* (rather than someone with unlimited money and resources).

I feel slightly ambivalent about this book – because I’m not trans* and I’m guilty of some of those oversights of non-gender-queer people. I work with students who might be gender diverse, and I try to take care with my pronouns, but sometimes I make mistakes. I wear my Ally badge with pride at work, and I’m not shy about the fact I’m married to a woman. But I do feel a little awkward at the thought of asking someone what pronouns they prefer.

I once enjoyed following George.Jessie.Love where the mother of Jessie (once George) talked about some of the problems and joys of life of having a child who is transgender. I can’t imagine having a child who doesn’t identify as either gender and how hard that could be for the parents and the child. Another blogger that I respect quietly transitioned the pronouns she used for her two sons into a daughter and a son. Whether you shout about being trans* and proud of it, or you quietly get on with life, there are unique challenges that come with it that are discussed in some depth in this book.

I’m not sure that this is ‘a journey for all of us’. I’m not sure that this book is even going to be looked at twice by cis-people that haven’t ever thought about non-binary genders. I think that within the Queer community this book would find readers, but not necessarily outside of it.

Hachette Australia | 20th June 2017 | AU$22.99 | paperback

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