After the German language literature list here comes the English one. I am not so sure about the categories because there is a lot of overlap, but since I was specifically asked about literature about trans issues this will come first, more about other stuff to follow:
Since I have just posted stuff about sexuality of trans people, I won’t repeat that here.
In English there are quite a few good books about trans issues imho:
- Whipping Girl by Julia Serano, almost the „bible“ about transsexuality, especially from a trans-female and feminist point of view. If you are confused about what transsexuality is all about and want to understand it or if you want to here critique of both biologist and sociologist models of transsexuality, this should be your first book to look at.
- Excluded by Julia Serano, kind of the follow-up to Whipping Girl, but with a much broader perspective. It puts forward a general model for marginalization and how to fight it independent of the specific categories (and their intersections) that trigger the marginalization. Also a lot of experiences about how it is to be a transsexual woman (and bisexual and femme and tomboy 🙂 ) in queer circles. There is a lot more to write about it, I’ll reserve that to future posts.
- Gender Outlaws, The Next Generation, edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman. Lots of Essays about gender nonconformity in many forms trans male, trans female and everything in between. Also from all kinds of perspectives: different ages, countries, ethnic backgrounds, economic backgrounds etc.
- Nobody Passes, edited by Mattilda, aka Matt Bernstein Sycamore, a critical and broad discussion about passing from different angles, not only about passing as a certain gender, but also for example as a certain ethnicity or class. Reading this book is such a relief coming from discussions about passing in German trans circles (and queer circles, albeit for different reason) because it describes both the difficulties (often you have very little control about how you are perceived) as well as the necessities (sometimes you need to pass, just to survive for example)
These were some of the ones I have read, here are some that I didn’t read, but hear that they are really good:
- Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg, „we“ were always there – history of transgender (in a wide sense, every age has its name for it) people.
- Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, recent autobiography of a young trans woman of color, who has a lot to say (see also these videos about different topics covered in the book).
- Pay It No Mind, Documentary about Marsh P Johnson, one of the fighters at Stonewall and co-founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries,
- Spoken Word by Julia Serano:
- Sleeping Sickness, about her growing up catholic and the conflict with her transsexuality
- Cocky, about her penis and the meanings society puts on it
- Girl Talk, A Trans & Cis Woman Dialogue, Videos from a spoken word evening about the relationship of queer cis and trans women
- Diagnosing Difference, documentary about the implications of medical diagnosis in the lives of transgender people.
These are links that I post all the time somewhere 🙂
- Performance Piece, about Julia Serano’s frustration with the queer thinking of „gender is just performance“ – often similar to my frustration 🙂
- Skirt Chasers: Why the Media Depicts the Trans Revolution in Lipstick and Heels about the stereotypical portrayals of trans people (especially trans women) in the media and its reasons
- On The Outside Looking In, about trans women exclusion in queer feminist circles
- 30+ Examples of Cisgender Privilege one of many privilege checklists, this time one for cis privilege, meaning the privileges you have when you are not trans. All the usual caveats about privilege checklists (-> intersectionality) apply, but it can still be helpful to think about.
- Autostraddle trans*scribe series a very respectful discussion about trans women in lesbian circles
- Whenever the topic of „autogynephilia“ comes up, I post a link to the BBL clearinghouse of tsroadmap. Short version: it’s complete bullshit.
- One really good contribution to the Bathroom Bill debate: Why Doesn’t Anyone Want to Say The “P” Word?
- There is a lot about a connection between trans and autism, some of it silly, some of it really makes sense. This one makes a lot of sense to me.
- Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding Transgender Children Debates by Julia Serano. A good primer about the different issues around trans children.
Stuff about Racism
I am white so I don’t think I know as much about racism than I know about trans issues. But here are some infos that help me understand stuff.
- Kali Tal’s experiences about doing racism awareness trainings in feminist organizations – and why she stopped it. Short version: „most racists are happy being racists, and simply don’t want to change. But at the same time they want to be protected from accusations of racism, and resent anyone who makes them „feel bad“ about it.“
- Is White Women’s fixation With Self-Care related to white guilt and white fragility? by Margo Stebbing, how the concept of self-care can be a tool the side-step the „real“ work.
Think It’s #NotAllMen? These 4 Facts Prove You’re Just Plain Wrong very good description about why #notallmen is not enough, how all men are potentially unsafe etc.
General Minority Issues
- Expecting Rejection a Crushing Stressor for Transgender People, how expecting rejection creates stress.
- Healing in Our Times Project, „This project is a resource list & mini-directory of low cost, affordable, and / or sliding scale holistic services which center the needs & healing pathways of POC (people of color).“
- The secret to living longer may be your social life, TED talk by Susan Pinker, it’s actually not about minorities, but if you take the negative of what she describes, you see how minorities live less long because of more difficult social integration.
General Spiritual Stuff
10 Ways to Bypass the Real, good list of typical spiritual bypassing strategies.
Spritual Victim Blaming
There is a lot of thinking in spiritual circles that, when applied the other way round, results in victim blaming. This makes it hard for people in not-so-good life situatons to feel welcome and also is just plain wrong. Here are some articles about it:
- It’s All in Your Head: A Meditation on Blaming the Victim as a Spiritual Practice, a general introduction to the issue.
- The Curiously Oppressive Power of Positive Thinking special focus on positive thinking and ableism.
- A Brazilian shaman reveals the dark side of positive thinking, very comprehensive description of all the mistakes with the positive thinking idea.
- Toxic Positivity Culture: Why Pagans, Polytheists, & Occultists Should Guard Against It by Scarlet Magdalene. Explains the toxicity of positivity, with victim blaming, spiritual bypassing etc.
Racism in the Spiritual Subculture
A lot of the western spiritual subculture is very privilege unaware and racist in a specific way. Here are some articles about it:
- Converting Hidden Spiritual Racism Into Sacred Activism: An Open Letter To Spiritual White Folks, this describes a real challenge: not seeing „The Universe“ (or rather: how the world currently works) as benign anymore, since it perpetuates exploitation of non-white people.
- For All Those Who Were Indian In A Former Life, about cultural appropriation of Native American spirituality.
- Indigenous groups unhappy with the growing number of Ayahuasca retreats, about the frustration of Peruvian Indigenous people with Ayahuasca retreats for tourists.
- Decolonizing Yoga, about getting rid of white (and cis, ableistisc etc.) supremacy in yoga practice.
- Stop Misuse of Native American Spirituality and Ceremonies (Facebook Page) of the Native American Association of Germany e.V. about the appropriation of Native American ceremonies by white people to make money. I really like one of their slogans: „don’t pay to pray!“.
- 6 Ways Spiritual Thinking Can Reinforce Oppression and Racism, basically the best I have read on spiritual racism, victim blaming etc.
- I need to talk to spiritual white women about white supremacy, calling out privileged spiritual practitioners, especially white women to speak up about white supremacy, and explaining how FLEB (Female Livestyle Empowerment Brand) is upholding white supremacy.
- White People Have No Culture by Lorena Wallace, about white people/westerners first destroyed their own connection to Earth and now appropriate the practices of others. The white/western „culture of death“. A bit North America centric, but the main points are universal imho.
- Why I’m Not a Shaman, and Neither Are You, by Jai Medina, questioning the self-identifying of especially white people as shamans, to cash in „on the images of on the apparent authenticity other white people associate with Native cultures (and let’s remember, there are hundreds of distinct Native cultures out there, not a generic ‘Native American’ etc.)“. Also explains very well where the word comes from and what is necessary to be one.
- When Spiritual Bypassing Meets Racism Meets Gaslighting about how spiritual bypassing and gaslighting work together to keep racism going in white dominated spiritual/self-development circles
General entitled stuff in spiritual circles
- White sisterhood needs to evolve by decolonizing yoga (see above), challenging all the privileged behavior in white, cis etc. spiritual circles.
- I’m Breaking Up with Spirituality.(via archive.org) about self-centeredness and narcissism in the spiritual subculture.
- Calling in the New Age: Identifying Oppressive Ideals in our Spirituality, the title says what it’s about, listing the important ways in which privileged spirituality (especially white) participates in oppression. (also with a lot of helpful links that could be added to this list as well)
- Utopia Inc, „Most utopian communities are, like most start-ups, short-lived. What makes the difference between failure and success?“
- Is this Portuguese eco-village a 21st-century utopia?, TED article about Tamera, with the, imho, very fitting quote „Tamera is a confusing place: part ridiculous, part slightly worrying and part hugely impressive.“
Abuse in Spiritual Subcultures
- How Can You Avoid Abuse in Tantra, about abuse in Tantra seminars etc., unfortunately with some victim blaming.
- Confronting Abuse of Power, about abuse in different spiritual communities, especially Budhist.
Well, the concept of (psycho)therapy can be questioned itself and some of the links below do, maybe self-development could be a better description.
- The Century of the Self documentary about the influence of the Freud family on politics and the economy.
- Is Mindfulness Making us Ill, about the risks associated with mindfulness.
- Mental Health is Different for People of Color in These 3 Ways (And More) how the white concepts of mental health do not work for people of color in different ways. Some of it is imho also applicable to other minority situations.
- Romantic Love is Killing Us: Who Takes Care of Us When We Are Single?, on The Body is not an Apology (generally a good place to look for stuff), about the singular focus on romantic relationships for structures of mutual support, and the general expectations, that this is achievable for everybody.
I’m an environmental journalist, but I never write about overpopulation. Here’s why. by David Roberts. Hint: Feminism and Socialism are the main answers.
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