How Sex Changed by Joanne Meyerowitz
A History of Transsexuality in the United States

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How Sex Changed is a fascinating social, cultural, and medical history of transsexuality in the United States. Joanne Meyerowitz tells a powerful human story about people who had a deep and unshakable desire to transform their bodily sex. In the last century when many challenged the social categories and hierarchies of race, class, and gender, transsexuals questioned biological sex itself, the category that seemed most fundamental and fixed of all.

From early twentieth-century sex experiments in Europe, to the saga of Christine Jorgensen, whose sex-change surgery made headlines in 1952, to today's growing transgender movement, Meyerowitz gives us the first serious history of transsexuality. She focuses on the stories of transsexual men and women themselves, as well as a large supporting cast of doctors, scientists, journalists, lawyers, judges, feminists, and gay liberationists, as they debated the big questions of medical ethics, nature versus nurture, self and society, and the scope of human rights.

In this story of transsexuality, Meyerowitz shows how new definitions of sex circulated in popular culture, science, medicine, and the law, and she elucidates the tidal shifts in our social, moral, and medical beliefs over the twentieth century, away from sex as an evident biological certainty and toward an understanding of sex as something malleable and complex. How Sex Changed is an intimate history that illuminates the very changes that shape our understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality today.


About Joanne Meyerowitz

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Joanne Meyerowitz is Professor of History at Indiana University and Editor of the Journal of American History.
Published June 30, 2009 by Harvard University Press. 394 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Political & Social Sciences, Gay & Lesbian, Travel, Self Help, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Fascinating account of how transsexuality has challenged American concepts of sex, gender, and sexuality in science, medicine, law, and popular culture in the 20th century.

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Publishers Weekly

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When ex-GI George Jorgensen changed his sex and took on a new identity as Christine in 1952, the lurid journalism that followed—focused on questions of Jorgensen's genitals, her sexual performance and her sexual availability—set the tone for how U.S. media understood and discussed transsexuality.

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Digital Journal

This narrative focuses on how societies respond to the basic biological differences - men's strength and women's reproductive capabilities - and how they encourage men and women to follow certain patterns.

Sep 18 2012 | Read Full Review of How Sex Changed: A History of...

In this social, legal, and medical history of transsexuality in the 20th century, Meyerowitz uses Christine Jorgensen's story (with its emp

Jun 01 2016 | Read Full Review of How Sex Changed: A History of...

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