The Uninvited Dilemma: A Question of Gender, by Kim Elizabeth Stuart. Metamorphous Press, 1991.
by Samantha P.
Right up front the author says, “This book is about transsexuals.” She then goes on to state, “The subject has received widespread publicity; but despite the headlines, little is known about the condition by the general public…”
Starting off with a set of definitions and descriptions she painstakingly stakes out her grounds for discussion and then carefully and methodically attempts to correct the misconceptions and to debunk the myths surrounding transsexualism. The early chapters of the book deal with the problems and experiences of transsexuals from the early years to adulthood. The final chapters deal primarily with the conclusions reached as a result of her research and the many interviews she conducted. Although the period covered by her work is now almost twenty years old, some of her comments are timeless, being equally relevant to today’s world as it was in the 1990’s. For example, in Chapter 4 she states in part, “Certainly a society which can find its way to the moon and back has the ability to find fair, discrete, and equitable ways of helping a very small percentage of individuals cope with personal dilemmas without destroying their careers and human dignity. We have become such a wasteful, throwaway society, it comes as a shock to learn the price we pay when we squander our natural resources. Although we are sometimes our own worst enemy, human beings — men and women — are our most precious natural resource. Just as we exact a toll on the quality of our life when we carelessly trash our environment, society pays dearly when we heedlessly toss about human lives as if they were empty, used up cans and bottles.”
Despite the fact that the book claims to be about transsexuals, a careful reading of the author’s definitions, so important to an understanding of this work, it is equally about transgender persons, a term in use today which was not used when the book was written.
This book is a fascinating read which challenges us all to reevaluate our thoughts on gender. I recommended it highly to all who seek answers to problems associated with trans phenomena; transsexuals, transgenders, their families, their friends, service professionals, and the public in general.