Transgender Good News, by Pat Conover. New Wineskins Press, 2002.

by Samantha P.

TransBookTo say that Pat Conover’s book is an eye-opener would be an understatement in the extreme. And good news it is! At least, to those who are wrestling with transgender experience and expression it is good news. I’m not so sure the same can be said for the scientific and helping professions, or the church for that matter. I consider it a breath of fresh air; badly needed in this bi-polar, patriarchal world.

In the early part of the book Ms Conover takes great care to show how pitifully lacking is the true scientific approach to the study of the phenomenon she refers to as “transgender experience and expression.” Later in the book she does the same with the religious institutions of our day. Using an easily understood analogy she draws the reader’s attention to the fact that the scientific community fumbles “through the haystack searching for the needle” when transgender experience and expression is so broad and all-encompassing that it actually is the haystack. There is no needle and it is the haystack that should be the focus of their attention.

She goes on to dissect current theological thinking with the same careful precision. She carefully constructs a view of transgender experience and expression with which the transgender reader can identify wholly.

As I read I experienced moments of extreme anger and frustration, and periods of great joy. I could not help thinking how far we, as a society, have come, and how far we have yet to go. Pat’s book is good news to all of us, not just those of us who are transgender.

This book needs to be thoroughly read and digested by those in the helping professions and the scientific world. For the religious community there is a special annex devoted to guidance for the pastoral care worker as well.

Do get this book. It may be hard reading in places, but the rewards of doing so far outweigh the effort involved.