REVIEW: The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye

November 20, 2021

The Transgender Issue

Shon Faye

Trans people in Britain today have become a culture war ‘issue’. Despite making up less than one per cent of the country’s population, they are the subjects of a toxic and increasingly polarized ‘debate’. This short book takes us outside of this fabricated ‘culture war’ and into the hearts and lives of Trans people, living today and looks at that experience and asks why it is that trans communities experience things in the way they do, from accessing health, to dealing with the police, from sex work, to violence, oppressions, bigotry, to homelessness to fertility and education Faye uses a wide range of research to underline their conclusions and bring some authentic light to a subject so often presided over by self-appointed Cis experts or nontrans authors.  Consistently and carefully the spotlight is pulled back onto the lives of people who are affected by these issues; trans lives, trans people, by keeping the focus clear and refusing to be drawn into poisonous  and dead-end shrill arguments the author allows a liberating idea of change to flow through the book. Suggesting it’s a wider issue of societal change, about power and who gets to wield it, about control and who gets to benefit from that, about patriachy and capitalism and about how we, all of us, need to honestly be the change we want to see in the world.

The book is a manifesto in how to build a radically different, fully inclusive world for all people to live in, but one which cherishes, nurtures and enables Trans communities to thrive and recognise the contributions they give to wider culture and community. It’s not always an easy read but for the Cis reader who wants to learn more other than the rot produced by mainstream media this book is a must.  Faye take the time to make sure they platform, quote and share stories and experiences from a wide range of different trans people and communities and this is one of the strongest parts of the book, to show the wide variety of trans communities and allow us to share insight and learning from their experience. Reflecting and recognising the different ways that class, colour, faith, education, money etc impacts on trans lives. Keeping the emphasis on change,  clearly detailing the harm caused by the current toxic situation but keeping the attention on hope, on what could and should be done by everyone interested in real equality to achieve it by working in solidarity.

This is a book which offers us a way onward, to a better future.

Out now £20