I’m currently reading a fascinating book called Transgender Warriors by Leslie Friedman. It makes me think of The Yellow Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee in that both books are part memoir, part history books. The Yellow Lighted Bookshop is about the history of books as much as it’s the tale of the author growing into a mature librarian. Transgender Warriors is as much about Friedman as it is about trans people in history.
I recognized quite a few names of warriors in the first few chapters, as those people of history also appear in David E. Jones’s Women Warriors: A History. Women Warriors acknowledges that many of the women cross-dressed or exhibited more masculine qualities (like King Nzinga) but still has that gender binary. You have to infer that some women in that book were, in fact, non-binary. Maybe not “trans,” but definitely falling outside of man/woman dichotomies.
With that said, Friedman’s personal history is profoundly biased in one way: s/he was an active member, for many years, of the World Workers Party, a communist organization that was an offshoot of the Socialist Party in the USA. For all I know, s/he may still be a member.
So, there are many, many, many, MANY moments in the book that are cringe/noteworthy. To say s/he is NOT a fan of capitalism is an understatement on par with “I think North Korea may have a humanitarian problem.” Continue reading →