Review: Beyond Trans by Heath Fogg Davis

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July 3, 2017 by Zoë

In Beyond Trans, Heath Fogg Davis sets out to prove the argument that we should move beyond male and female and that we don’t need gender categories at all. He argues, among other things, against gender on ID cards, gendered separated restrooms, and gendered sports teams.

The Good
I picked up this book because I wanted some talking points to argue for some of the same things as Davis, particularly gender neutral bathrooms. Many of Fogg’s arguments are good. They’re laid out in a logical way and are convincing. There’s frequently also a lot of background information and interesting stories, making this an easy and fascinating read. This isn’t just an academic text.

The Bad
As I said, I wanted to read this book to get arguments that I could use myself, but for that purpose it fell short. The arguments in this book are convincing for people who are already liberal and already supportive of trans rights, but not for anyone else.

I nodded along with the chapter on bender neutral bathrooms. Yes, yes, this all makes sense–let’s have gender neutral bathrooms! Someone who’s convinced that gender neutral bathrooms are a predator’s playground? They’re not going to be convinced. Though the arguments here are logical, they’re just not enough to convince someone who isn’t already swinging in that direction already.

The Verdict
This was an interesting and well-thought-out book, but was not as revolutionary as I was hoping. Nevertheless, do check it out if you’re interested.

“I use the term ‘sex identity’ instead of the term ‘gender identity’ because I think it more accurately describes the source of this particular kind of sexism: judgements about who does and does not belong in the sex categories of male or female.”

I received an electronic copy of this book through Netgalley for this review.

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