The Internet has a strange way of broadcasting value and worth. A forty-year-old book about transgender issues can be a cornerstone of critical thought at the time but then gets misquoted and passed off as old fashion. Today the book is out-of-print but fetches around $100 used on Amazon for a used hard cover edition. You have to wonder why the publisher does not make another printing? Modern books read like pop self-help books, quoting daytime TV shows and sourcing checklists of acceptable pronouns. The Transgender Empire written by a “radical lesbian feminist” (how did she ever get that label?) is both academic, historical and cuts to the chase and journeys deep into the topic. Below is just a short quote from the 1994 reprinting.
The medical model is also a disease model. And here exactly is the rub. If transsexualism is treated as a disease, then does desire qualify as disease? As Thomas Szasz asked in his New York Times review of The Transsexual Empire, does an old person who wants to be young suffer from the “disease” of being a “transchronological, ” or does a poor person who wants to be rich suffer from the “disease” of being a “transeconomical”? Does a Black person who wants to be white suffer from the “disease” of being a “transracial”?
All these questions, of course, raise larger social and political issues and remove these conjectural “diseases” from the medical/psychiatric framework.
From The Transgender Empire – Janice Raymond
Reprinted in 1994 by Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027
Originally published in 1979 by Beacon Press
Copyright © 1994 by Janice G. Raymond