On our bookshelf

The era of no debate is over. The selection of books on the topic of sex and gender identity keeps growing.

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Helen Joyce: Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality

Accessible, well-researched, lively and powerfully-argued, Economist journalist Helen Joyce’s book sets out the history and development of the transgender movement, explaining the idea and its influences, and what it means for women, children, gay people and the sporting community. She highlights the corrosive impacts on institutions, and tells the stories of some the people who are taking the personal and professional risks of standing up to the powerful gender lobby.

We think this book is a game changer and we are working to get a copy to every Member of Parliament as well as to other influential people. You can sponsor a copy.

Kathleen Stock: Material Girls

Professor Kathleen Stock surveys the philosophical ideas that underpin ideas of gender, from Simone De Beauvoir to Judith Butler. She looks at biological sex in a range of important contexts, including women-only spaces and resources, healthcare, epidemiology, political organisation and data collection.

Abigail Shrier: Irreversible Damage

Groups of female friends in schools across the world are coming out as ‘transgender’. Most are girls who had never expressed any discomfort with their biological sex until they heard a coming-out story from a speaker at a school assembly or discovered the internet community of trans influencers. ‘Gender-affirming’ therapists now recommend medical interventions for them. Abigail Shrier, writer for the Wall Street Journal, investigates this phenomenon.

Caroline Criado Perez: Invisible Women – Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men 

If you want a book to ease someone into an understanding of just how much sex matters in our daily lives, this is it. Caroline Criado Perez sets out the dangers of what she calls the “one-size-fits-men” approach in government policy, medical research, technology, workplaces, and the media. While steadfastly ignoring the new challenge to clarity about the sexes, she provides the foundational arguments for why the differences between male and female people should not be ignored or erased.

Christine Burns: Trans Britain – our Journey from the Shadows

This book is a selection of short first-person essays by the pioneers of the transgender movement in the UK. Some are fascinating. Christine Burns, co-founder of Press for Change, Dr Stuart Lorimar of the Charing Cross Clinic, Mark Rees, a transman who took a case to the European Court of Human Rights, Jane Fae and Helen Belcher of Trans Media Watch, James Morton of Scottish Trans Alliance and Jay Stewart of Gendered Intelligence are among those who tell their stories.

Shon Faye: The Transgender Issue

Faye sets out a radical case: we should abolish prison, decriminalise all sex work, abolish capitalism and accept that being a man or woman is defined by political experience, not biology. “It’s a strange experience to read a book like this and realise that many of these ideas are mainstream. Faye is highly intelligent and writes with compassion and clarity about marginalised groups that suffer a lot. What she doesn’t fully acknowledge is that some of the rights being demanded – access to single-sex spaces such as prisons, refuges, changing rooms, sports competitions – clash with the rights of the half of the population that has traditionally been oppressed.” – Christina Patterson, Sunday Times.

Carole Hooven: Testosterone: The Story of the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us

Harvard evolutionary biologist Carole Hooven combines personal stories and the latest research, setting out how testosterone drives the behaviour of the sexes apart and how understanding the science behind this hormone is empowering for all. “Hooven makes a compelling case that testosterone is a powerful influence on our bodies and brains. As Testosterone argues, it’s hard to make a start on […] social improvements if we don‘t fully understand why things are the way they are. Clear-eyed books like this, which mercifully avoid culture-war partisanship, are a great start on that quest.” – The Times

Debra Soh: The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths About Sex and Identity in Our Society

International sex researcher, neuroscientist, and columnist Debra Soh sets out a scientific examination of gender identity. Drawing on original research and interviews, Soh tackles a wide range of issues, such as gender-neutral parenting, gender dysphoric children, and the neuroscience of being transgender. She debates today’s accepted notion that gender is a social construct and a spectrum, and challenges the idea that there is no difference between how male and female brains operate.

Sue Evans and Marcus Evans: Gender Dysphoria: A Therapeutic Model for Working with Children, Adolescents and Young Adults

This book is aimed primarily at clinicians, but might also prove useful for parents, other professionals and dysphoric young people. It provide a psychoanalytic framework for understanding, assessing, and treating gender dysphoria, offering professionals a way of trying to think with and offer understanding to their clients. Clinical examples are given to illustrate these processes and promote the understanding of children, adolescents, and young people experiencing gender dysphoria. As well as clinical exploration and understanding, the book includes an overview of the current political, social, and clinical environments which have all impacted on the clinical care of trans-identifying individuals.

Robin Moira White and Nicola Newbegin: A Practical Guide to Transgender Law

“I’ve had a sneak preview of a couple of chapters of this. It’s not beach reading, but it is a straightforward guide to what causes so much angst on Twitter: what the law does and doesn’t say about the rights of trans people. I’m looking forward to getting the whole book.” – Kate from South Uist.

Heather Brunskell Evans: Transgender Body Politics

“Everyone, including every trans person, has the right to live freely without discrimination. But the transgender movement has been hijacked by misogynists who are appropriating and inverting the struggles of feminism to deliver an agenda devoid of feminist principles.” – Heather Brunskell Evans

Heather Brunskell Evans and Michele Moore: Inventing Transgender Children and Young People

With contributions from David Bell, Michael Biggs, Lisa Marchiano, Stephanie Davies-Arai, Stella O’Malley and others, this book is composed of essays by clinicians, psychologists, sociologists, educators, parents and de-transitioners. Contributors demonstrate how ‘transgender children and young people’ are invented in different medical, social and political contexts: from specialist gender identity development services to lobby groups and their school resources, gender guides and workbooks; from the world of the YouTube vlogger to the consulting rooms of psychiatrists; from the pharmaceutical industry to television documentaries; and from the developmental models of psychologists to the complexities of intersex medicine.

Laura Kate Dale: Gender Euphoria

Laura Kate Dale, a full-time video game critic, edits this anthology of nineteen trans, non-binary, agender, gender-fluid and intersex writers who share their experiences of gender euphoria: “a powerful feeling of happiness experienced as a result of moving away from one’s birth-assigned gender”.

Sally Hines: Is Gender Fluid? A primer for the 21st century

An exposition of gender identity ideology by Professor Sally Hines. “When we are born, we are each assigned a gender based on our physical anatomy. But why is it that some people experience dissonance between their biological sex and their personal identity? Is gender something we are, or something we do? Is our expression of gender a product of biology, or does it develop based on our environment? Are the traditional binary male and female gender roles relevant in an increasingly fluid and flexible world?”

CN Lester: Trans Like Me

“In this collection of essays, Lester, a British activist and singer-songwriter who identifies as nonbinary, draws from research and personal experience to question and debunk myths related to transgender identity. Lester finds precedent for the use of the pronoun ‘they’ in literature as far back as Shakespeare, for instance, and argues that transgender people have been largely excluded from historical narratives and movements. The book also offers an insider’s look at Lester’s evolving understanding of gender in our society and personal struggles with self-identification.”– New York Times

With thanks to @moleatthedoor for the illustration.