Since the first edition's publication, author Jamison Green's writings and advocacy among business and governmental organizations around the world have led to major changes in the fields of law, medicine, and social policy, and his (mostly invisible) work has had significant effects on trans people globally. This new edition captures the changes of the last two decades, while also imparting a message of self-acceptance and health.
With profoundly personal and eminently practical threads, Green clarifies transgender experience for transgender people and their families, friends, and coworkers. Medical and mental health care providers, educators, business leaders, and advocates seeking information about transgender concerns can all gain from Green's integrative approach to the topic. This book candidly addresses emotional relationships that are affected by a transition, and brings refined integrity to the struggle to self-define, whether one undergoes a transition or chooses not to.
Emphasizing the lives of transgender men—who are often overlooked—he elucidates the experience of masculinity in a way that is self-assured and inclusive of feminist values. Green's inspirational wisdom has informed and empowered thousands of readers. There is still no other book like Becoming a Visible Man in the transgender canon.
Preface to the Second Edition
Foreword, by Aaron H. Devor
1. How Do You Know?
Coming of Age
The World of Men
Letting Go of Shame
Taking Responsible Action
3. A Vision of Community
Lou Sullivan and the FTM Group
Stepping Up to the Plate
4. Body of Knowledge
Access to Treatment
5. Transparent Feelings
Parents and Trans Children
Transpeople as Parents
6. Consummate Presence
Desire versus Identity
The “Threat” of Sexual Uncertainty
Sex and Validation
Knowing What’s Desired
Visibility on Screen
Visibility in Print
The Visibility Dilemma
Influencing the Course of Treatment
8. Willful Destiny
"The first great memoir by a trans man."~Jennifer Finney Boylan
—New York Times
"Since I first met Jamison Green in 1990, I've known him to embody integrity and kindness. Becoming a Visible Man has stood the test of time and continues to offer hope and inspiration to new generations. It's a work of both historical importance and contemporary relevance."~Kate Bornstein
—Kate Bornstein, author of Gender Outlaw
"Game-changing. . . . [This new edition] presents an opportunity for Green to claim his place in transgender history, where he [has been] largely uncredited."~Kate Sosin
—Kate Sosin, NewNowNext
"No one writes more eloquently, honestly, or powerfully about transgender lives than Jamison Green, one of the intellectual heavyweights of the transgender movement. No one has done more to capture the complex experiences of transgender men, who continue to struggle for visibility even as transgender issues have loomed larger than ever in our national discourse. Green's insightful treatise is a classic and, especially in this newly revised form, is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand gender and transgender issues."~Shannon Price Minter
—Shannon Price Minter, coeditor of Transgender Rights
"As Jamison Green himself points out in the preface to this second edition of Becoming a Visible Man, it's remarkable that many questions about trans lives were the same twenty—or even fifty—years ago as they are today, which makes this book as timely now as when it was first published. That Green brings his long and deep perspective to bear in additional material on such current hot-button topics as feminist transphobia, the toilet wars, health care, and mainstream media representation makes this second edition even more important—a fitting update to a true classic of transgender nonfiction writing."~Susan Stryker
—Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History and founding coeditor of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly
"Becoming a Visible Man is one of the most important books about being a man and about being trans. Jamison Green's writing is strong and steady. He has a gift of painting densely woven, intricate tales of lives less examined while remaining accessible and keeping readers rapt. His writing is not just rich and beautiful, it is life-changing. He masterfully and lovingly leads us into learning about ourselves, about others, and about what it means to be a person. This book illuminates and preserves an otherwise largely untethered, untold, and rich history of the trans male experience. It captures the intimate experience of risking everything to become who you are. In its first edition, this book altered the course of my life and allowed me to see a future for the first time. This book was a lighthouse in uncharted waters. Nearly two decades later, in this revised version, the value is no different. This is a lifesaving book."~Rocco Kayiatos
—Rocco Kayiatos, cofounder of Original Plumbing and Camp Lost Boys
"The OG of trans masculine visibility, advocacy, and representation is back—with a brand new, fully updated edition of his essential, no-less-than-lifesaving resource for trans men of all generations. Born out of a necessity to document the forging of community when there was scarcely a community to speak of, Becoming a Visible Man is an evergreen history book that should be required reading for anybody interested in the future of social justice (for all). It is an unflinching, beautifully written, and eminently readable memoir, which generously centers not only Green's trailblazing life, but also the stories of so many other invisible pioneers from our collective history, without whom many of us—including myself—would simply not be where we are today."~T Cooper
—T Cooper, author of Real Man Adventures and director of Man Made
"Many of us can easily name traits of toxic masculinity, yet most struggle with defining what healthy masculinity looks like in action. Fortunately, Jamison Green's Becoming a Visible Man, like Jamison's own journey, offers a powerful roadmap any man—cisgender or transgender—can follow. This book is essential reading for those of us committed to becoming better men ready to build a more just and equitable world for people of all genders."~Rhodes Perry
—Rhodes Perry, author of Belonging at Work
"Ever the consummate storyteller, Dr. Jamison Green has, once again, captured the beauty and challenge that trans men encounter along their journey to discovering and living an authentic life. Through personal narrative interwoven with historical details, Dr. Green illuminates the insidious forms of marginalization and oppression experienced by many trans men beginning in childhood, as we navigate through the discomfort and dissonance we feel between our innate gender identification and society's gender-related expectations. Jamison has brilliantly captured what many of us come to know: that along an arduous yet achievable journey to change our sex, we must also work to find our way back into communion with loved ones who may feel betrayed, abandoned, or frightened at who we are becoming: visible men."~Zander Keig
—Zander Keig, coeditor of Letters for My Brothers
Praise for the 2004 edition:~Dallas Denny
"Jamison Green has always known who he is. Others may have been confused, but never he. Now he tells, with integrity, and in a moving and thoughtful way, his story. We learn how he became a visible man—and in the reading, we learn much about being human."
—Dallas Denny, editor of Transgender Tapestry
Praise for the 2004 edition:~Joanne Meyerowitz
"An intelligent and engaging book. Jamison Green, an extraordinary activist and advocate for FTM transsexuals, demonstrates that he is also an extraordinary writer. Green artfully blends the personal, the informative, and the political, and grounds it all in a generous vision of inclusive communities. He makes a thoughtful and persuasive case for making gender visible."
—Joanne Meyerowitz, author of How Sex Changed
Praise for the 2004 edition:~Henry Rubin
"When the premier trans activist of a generation decides to write a memoir, we should be grateful. When Jamison Green weaves his personal and political experiences into a magnificent story, it is all the more reason to celebrate. Becoming a Visible Man shows why he is a leading voice to a generation of trans men and trans women and why this issue should be on the top of the agenda for all of us in the twenty-first century."
—Henry Rubin, author of Self-Made Men
Praise for the 2004 edition:~Pega Ren
"We can all, regardless of gender, benefit from this strong and gentle book about what is really important about gender: self-acceptance and tolerance."
—Archives of Sexual Behavior
Praise for the 2004 edition:~Sandra Samons
"Becoming a Visible Man offers brilliant insight into the world of trans men, a much needed insight for the professionals who seek to serve this population or to educate others about the wide range of diversity that exists in the world of human sexuality and gender expression. Anyone with an interest in this topic should consider this book required reading."
—American Journal of Sexuality Education
At least two generations of transgender, nonbinary-identified, and other gender-nonconforming people have emerged since this book was first published. I see the YouTube videos, the Facebook groups, the conversations on Reddit (and many other forums), the growth of community-based organizations, and the new scholarship flourishing in all regions of the globe, and I love the energy and the commitment so many people are bringing to their self-explorations and efforts to improve the quality of life that trans people and their families experience. At the same time, though, I see that far too many people are asking the same questions that my own cohort of trans people asked thirty, forty, fifty years ago, and far too many people still believe that there is no information to be found about transgender lives. I know how tempting it is, in the US especially, to want to discard the past and forge new ground, but I am also heartened by the recent attention to our collective history from today's students and transgender-identified people who have been surprised and gratified to realize they have not been alone all this time, we have ancestors and pioneers, and there is a context for their lives.
I wrote this book to supply answers-or pathways toward them-to many of the questions that trans people and their loved ones were asking, and also to illuminate the lives of trans men. On the whole, trans men continue to be invisibilized and ignored while trans women are both glamorized and vilified-and murdered-all too frequently. I want trans women to receive the accolades they are due, and I want the demonizing and the killing to stop, but I also want trans men to be seen and respected, and nonbinary and agender people to be acknowledged and given credence. There is no gender justice in minimizing anyone; there are no valid excuses for ignoring gender inequality or perpetuating gender-based discrimination or violence. The scapegoating and oppression of trans and nonbinary people as a political diversion or as a tactic for enforcing gender "norms" only serve an irresponsible power structure and reinforce complacency with a cruel status quo that ultimately harms everyone. And now it seems the pathways once delineated are blurred, and the visibility of trans men is as problematic as ever. So this new edition explores these issues further.
In this version, I have maintained the structure of the original book, integrating updated information along the way. I have added new material to reflect political and cultural changes, concerns, and issues that have developed since the original text was published. I have also modified terminology to reflect evolving ideas and standards, with explication where applicable, and I use terms that are historical as well as contemporary. I use the term "trans" as an abbreviation for both "transgender" and "transsexual," and I do use "transsexual" when the term reflects the historical, medical, or legal context under discussion. I also intend the term "trans" to be inclusive of nonbinary-identified people who are also transgressing gender boundaries.
My concern has always been to amplify and lift up anyone who falls outside the simple binary defined by traditional gender roles, but also to assure every person that their own personal experience of gender, whether or not it conforms to a binary understanding, is valid and deserving of respect. I am convinced that the best way forward for all of us as human beings is to relinquish rigid identity constructs that are competitive with or invalidating of other people. We cannot understand ourselves or live authentic and virtuous lives without recognizing, accepting, and respecting each other's differences.
The human condition is so much more rich and dynamic than most of us have yet acknowledged, and the theorists of earlier centuries who based their observations of gender and sex on simple binary presumptions can be forgiven for their ignorance, but not for the harm their ideas are still causing, which is the very situation I hope this book can help to remedy. My original intention to improve society's understanding of transgender people and to increase self-acceptance and empowerment for trans people themselves has not changed, and neither has the need to combat misinformation, stereotypes, and fear. Don't be afraid to be yourself or to let others be themselves, just don't hurt yourself or anyone else in the process. Life is too valuable a gift to waste on anything less than kindness.