Riki Wilchin author of TRANS/gressiveTRANS/gressive talks about how transgender activists took on gay rights, feminism, the media and Congress… and won.  Riki Wilchins is a public, not very feminine transsexual and has been a leading advocate for gender rights and gender justice for 20 years and was one of the founders of modern transgender political activism in the 1990s. Riki launched the Transexual  Menace, the first national transgender street action group in 1995 which spread to 41 cities. The following year she helped launched GenderPAC, the first national political advocacy group devoted to gender identity rights

Riki was an early supporter in the launch the intersex rights movement as well as the movement for alternative sexualities and she has done training on gender norms and nonconformity at the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Office on Women’s Health. The New York Times has profiled Riki’s work; in 2001 Time Magazine selected them as one of “100 Civic Innovators for the 21st Century.”

I found the book riveting, enlightening, funny, and sad. I loved it for its historical commentary and straight  forward reporting of those behind the scene events that led to greater acceptance of the transgender community today. I was out of the country in the mid/late 90s so missed most of this. But I was pleased that for once the role of the crossdressing community was acknowledged and not criticized by a transsexual  In fact, Riki billed the “Transsexual Menace”  as “just your average group of guys in dresses with poor impulse control and really bad attitudes.” And it worked more successfully than you could imagine.

Memorial demonstrations, picketing HRC, books on gender theory, public fights with radical feminists and being kicked out of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, are thus integral to who Riki is and how she sees herself, for better or worse. The book is highly recommended.

TRANS/gressiveTRANS/gressive is available from Amazon Kindle for $9.99

If you enjoy this book, you might also like Second Serve by Renee Richards

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