RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewAs [Heyam] demonstrate in this astute, self-aware and riveting study, the history of gender nonconformity around the world is so vast that no book can begin to contain its reaches ... And yet, it’s worth a try ... Taken together, the chapters prove the existence of trans people at almost every juncture of history, confirming that to veer from prevailing conventions and definitions of gender is as universal as humankind ... While I would have preferred, in \'a global trans history,\' greater discussion of nonwhite gender variance — half of the book’s six chapters focus on the relatively small populations of white Europeans and North Americans — Heyam does challenge the Western limitations that have prevented historians from accounting for trans people across time and geography ... By making their biases explicit, Heyam invites readers to situate our own positions within the historian’s account. Reflecting on their efforts to avoid complicity in the white gaze while writing about people of color, Heyam writes: \'Not everyone will think this is enough; I’m not sure I think it is myself.\' In the field of history, where trans perspectives are so rare, let alone nonwhite ones, Heyam’s admission of fallibility goes a long way ... a book that moves far beyond mere representation by managing to be both intellectually rigorous and exciting to read. It makes for a vital contribution to our understanding of gender variance and its place in social and political history, all around the world.
MixedThe New York Times Book Review\"It is when McBride — having lived her entire adult life in public as a trans advocate and budding political figure — is finally able to shed her public persona that her narrative is most resonant. By becoming a nuanced character in her own book, she humanizes the impossibly competent, morally unsullied ideal she seems on the surface ... At the same time, these extended chapters on trans advocacy, teeming with data and policy details, feel shallower than those that develop the star-crossed romance between McBride and the young transgender rights advocate Andrew Cray...The book’s strength lies in its portrayal of McBride and Cray as fully realized individuals beyond their transgender identities ... The inconsistencies and contradictions in McBride’s book reflect the difficulty of trying to explain the transgender experience to a predominantly cisgender public.\