Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity

Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity Author C. Riley Snorton
ISBN-10 1517901731
ISBN-13 9781517901738
Year 2017-11-15
Pages 256
Language English
Publisher Univ Of Minnesota Press
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The story of Christine Jorgensen Americas first prominent transsexual famously narrated trans embodiment in the postwar era Her celebrity however has obscured other mid century trans narrativesones lived by African Americans such as Lucy Hicks Anderson and James McHarris Their erasure from trans history masks the profound ways race has figured prominently in the construction and representation of transgender subjects In Black on Both Sides C Riley Snorton identifies multiple intersections between blackness and transness from the mid nineteenth century to present day anti black and anti trans legislation and violence Drawing on a deep and varied archive of materialsearly sexological texts fugitive slave narratives Afro modernist literature sensationalist journalism Hollywood filmsSnorton attends to how slavery and the production of racialized gender provided the foundations for an understanding of gender as mutable In tracing the twinned genealogies of blackness and transness Snorton follows multiple trajectories from the medical experiments conducted on enslaved black women by J Marion Sims the father of American gynecology to the negation of blackness that makes transnormativity possible Revealing instances of personal sovereignty among blacks living in the antebellum North that were mapped in terms of cross dressing and canonical black literary works that express black mens access to the female within Black on Both Sides concludes with a reading of the fate of Phillip DeVine who was murdered alongside Brandon Teena in 1993 a fact omitted from the film Boys Dont Cry out of narrative convenience Reconstructing these theoretical and historical trajectories furthers our imaginative capacities to conceive more livable black and trans worlds

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