Beyond Trans by Heath Fogg Davis

beyondtransWhen I’m highlighting furiously in the introduction alone, I know things are going to be good! Beyond Trans was fantastic. It’s intersectional, radical, and incredibly thought-provoking. Heath Fogg Davis is a biracial trans man, so set aside any fears of yet another white cisgender person debating trans and non-binary existence. Fogg Davis proposes that removing “bureaucratic administration of sex markers” (whether we’re talking about government-issued IDs or college admissions or sports teams) is the only way to achieve gender equality. When we think along the binary (allowing trans people to change that marker from male to female, female to male) we’re missing the mark. We’re ignoring the root of the problem, and we’re still discriminating against gender nonconforming people who don’t fit in either of those two boxes.

Fogg Davis dismantles the most common reasons and situations in which we think sex markers are necessary. And in the cases where it still might be necessary, he calls for communication and transparency: What information specifically needs to be collected? How are they defining sex/gender? Why is this information being collected? What is it being used for?

Best of all, Fogg Davis doesn’t simply point out the flaws and discriminatory practices when it comes to gender definitions/sex markers and leave it at that. He actually presents tangible solutions, details ways to make those solutions happen, complete with resources for businesses, schools, non-profits, and other entities.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It highlights real life experiences of trans and gender nonconforming people to shine a light on the (often subjective) discriminatory gatekeeping that is so prevalent in our society. Beyond Trans is well-written and enjoyable to read, provocative in all the best ways, and encourages readers to stretch their minds.