The Transsexual Empire is a nonfiction book by Janice Raymond that largely claims that transsexual women are deluded men trying to invade women's spaces, whereas transsexual men are women who have been assimilated by the deluded men. This has made it fairly unpopular among transsexuals to say the least, and any good ideas in it tend to be buried under a lot of prejudice.

One of the good points the author makes is how it would be a neat idea for people to transgress gender roles in order to show how pointless the gender dichotomy (AKA dichotic gender paradigm) is. Although this would indeed be good, it's not such a good idea to force certain people to do this when they're just trying to live out normal lives and put their birth defect behind them. If you want to transgress gender roles, great, go do it. That doesn't give you the right to stop people trying to be normal for a greater good.

The author interviews some chauvinistic transsexual women. I'm not sure if this is due to the time period or whether Ms. Raymond went out of her way to find these people, but I don't know a single transsexual who agrees with any of their views.

Ms. Raymond points out how stupid it is that both male and female transsexualism are blamed on the person's mother, then proceeds to blame both on their father.

There's also an analogy between transsexual women and eunuchs. Just because they both had their testicles removed doesn't mean they did it for the same reasons. Despite the author's claims, transsexual women are not trying to exert a male force on other women to keep them in their place, and do not earn a high place in male society for their work. They're just ordinary women trying to live out their lives, and usually tend to be treated by men with less respect than cissexual women.

Overall, such a book might be interesting if it wasn't contradictory, filled with bizarre analogies that don't make the slightest bit of sense, offensive or based on the flawed premise that transsexual women are men and vice versa.

I'd recommend Kate Bornstein's Gender Outlaw or Riki Anne Wilchins' Read My Lips: Sexual Subversion and the End of Gender as a kind of antidote to this, which are both written by transsexual women who are voluntarily transgressing gender roles, and are a lot more insightful about trans issues.

Just remember, The Transsexual Empire is about equality. Just not for you.

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