The book is largely written from a happy person's point of view which I find terribly interesting and not quite believable. Maybe I'm being a little bit of an a__hole 'cause Matt's so f____ing together.
In terms of helping a general audience understand transsexualism, what transition involves, why people need it, and the particular issues trans people as a community face, this is a pretty good book. Kailey also seems to be aiming to educate trans people curious about transition and understanding the difficulties they will face throughout the process and after, and I think he achieves these aims as well.
"Clinical, too clinical!" is what I thought, "more than probably sterile of humor and devoid of linguistic merit".
-Though I understand that the book is about transsexuals rather than transgenders, the neutral pronouns "ze," "hir," and "nu" were included in the glossary without being used at all in the text proper.
Matt Kaileys Just Add Hormones: An Insiders Guide to the Transsexual Experience challenges societys predisposition towards restrictions and restrictiveness. Throughout the book, Kailey stresses the importance of educational dialogue in making our world a more livable place for transpeople (and the rest of non-heterosexuals, for that matter). The order in which the books points were organized and presented simulates a transsexuals journey from the cumbersome, hormone-driven adjustment phases to the rather transcendence/cause-oriented post transition. The first parts open ones eyes to realities that transpeople have to face every day: DSMs pathologization of transsexuality (through the manuals listing down of the category as Gender Identity Disorder or GID), the difficulties of self-identification and social interaction for those who are passing by the so-called Gray Zone, and the ups and downs of taking hormones. But transsexual experiences, I believe, comprise only a portion of Just Add Hormones. Way beyond being An Insiders Guide to the Transsexual Experience, the book can be anybodys guide to understanding the ways by which society and certain social constructs operate, as well as to coming to terms with the incongruence of sexual orientation and gender identity. Still in regard to the books discussion of society: I appreciate how Kailey doesnt wash his hands clean of qualified subscription or falling victim to the social ideals and norms that he criticizes. Beyond the realm of the personal, Just Add Hormones theoretical strength lies in its presentation of the divide between sexual orientation and gender identity. Kaileys being both gay and trans contributed the most to the effectiveness of the books exposition of the SO-GI incongruence. Despite Kaileys identity (which struck me as peculiar) and views (which lean towards changing society, doing away with heteronormativity, and the like), I do not see him on the extreme end of radicalism, towards which, I would like to think, my views regarding sex and gender are bent. If theres one thing that the book makes known, its that we really dont need clear-cut categories and definite answers, if having them meant closing the doors of our understanding.
Matthew Scott Kailey (March 17, 1955 May 18, 2014) was a trans male author, educator, and transgender activist. In 2007 he became its managing editor, making Kailey the highest-ranking trans journalist of an LGBT publication.